Best (Recent) Writer Advice… #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

Isn’t it funny how the right advice comes along just when you need it? Kind of like when you learn a word you’d never heard before, and suddenly you hear it everywhere? There are piles of advice I’ve received over the years as a writer that I could list here. But if I did, I’d be here for days. Instead, how about I share the most recent best advice?

Lately, I’ve been working to make some of my scenes less…predictable. Mostly because I’ve written 27 books now, and I need to keep it fresh for myself. Lol. A friend went to a workshop recently (I wish I remembered more about the workshop. My friend can’t remember either.) and she shared this as the best takeaway.

Here it is: When coming up with a scene/plot point, start listing. Discard the first 5-10 you come up with, because those are obvious and will have been done. See if you can get to 15-25 idea on the list. That range of things will be the meat, the most interesting ideas you could come up with.

I’ve been applying this advice to everything (and have to say that it’s turned into one of my favorite exercises because it’s so fun to do).

Here’s an example. This week, I was trying to come up with a reason my cowboy, in my current WIP (Partnering the Playboy–Book 3 in my Hills of Texas series as my contemporary pen name), would need to do community service. I need a reason that’s actually honorable and endearing. Since the hero is a playboy and has a reputation for running a bit wild, the reason for his doing community service was easy. He got in a public fight. Pretty bad one. But what would make that honorable, particularly to the heroine? This is where that advice comes into play.

My first few ideas included:

  • a bet
  • hit on by another guy’s girlfriend
  • jealous other contender for a girl at a bar
  • the other guy hit a woman
  • defending the female bartender
  • his buddy started the fight (but he ended it)
  • someone owes money
  • breaking up another fight
  • for beating a dog
  • for hurting a cat

As you can see, these are all fairly predictable. Of course the hows and whys could make each more interesting. But I kept going.

I don’t want to give away what I eventually settled on, but let’s just say it involves an animal you wouldn’t want to tangle with. I add insult to injury by having his older brother–the county Sheriff–be the one to arrest him, and the heroine be the one to bail him out and come up with the community service that he’s assigned.

Should be fun! Yay for timely, fantastic advice!


I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

 

Cover Reveal: The Boss (Fire’s Edge #1)

A Brand New Series from Entangled – Coming Sept. 24th!!!

FIRE’S EDGE #1

Finn Conleth leads his team of enforcer dragon shifters with an iron fist and a cold heart. Every dragon seeks his destined mate, but the process to turn the woman he once thought was his killed her and devastated him. He will never risk his heart again. His team is his family now. When his body eventually gives out, he’ll leave, living his last days alone.

Delaney Hamilton moved across the country to escape the freak fires that plague her. But when another suspicious fire erupts and rapidly escalates around her, her hopes for a new life go up in smoke. She has no choice but to turn to the mysterious men who come to her aid.

Finn knows the fire is dragon-caused, which puts Delaney’s problems directly in his jurisdiction. No matter how her wounded grey eyes call to every part of him, he refuses to risk her life in the mating process.

Until another dragon threatens to claim Delaney for his own, and Finn has to sacrifice everything to keep her alive…

ADD “THE BOSS” TO YOUR GOODREADS WISHLIST!

 

ENTER COVER REVEAL GIVEAWAY!

Up for grabs… this beautiful rainbow topaz ring and a $25 Amazon gift card!

In Fire’s Edge, dragon shifters come in a multitude of colors
depending on their clan–Blue, Red, Gold, Black, Green, and White.

 

 

1st, 2nd, or 3rd – The Person Make a Big Difference #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

Before I get into my personal preference, let’s touch on the different “persons” you can write from and make sure we’re all on the same page.

1st Person

1st person stories are written from a single point of view–that of the protagonist. The reader gets to float around inside that persons head seeing all their thoughts and every experience from their lens. The easiest way to identify 1st person is by the pronouns. Everything is I, me, we.

2nd Person

2nd person tends to be reserved more for manuals than fiction, but on the rare occasion this point of view can be used. 2nd person is about making the reader the protagonist in their head. Identify 2nd person again by the pronouns. Everything is directed at “you.”

3rd Person

3rd person is all about the person being talked about in that scene. This allows the reader to experience scenes from a less person, more “fly on the wall” type of perspective but still through the lens of individual character or characters. The identifiable pronouns in 3rd person are he, she, it, they.

Okay, now that we have that down, I’ll share. While I’ve written all 3, I am definitely a 3rd Person fan as both an author and a reader. Here’s why…

Not a Manual

My degree was in Technical Writing–essentially writing instructions an manuals. After having written many, I don’t think I could ever write fiction from this POV. It would be too much like writing a manual.

Not Breaking the 4th Wall

I actually LOVE when a character breaks the 4th wall and talks directly to the audience in TV or movies (think Deadpool or House of Cards). However, it’s much easier to pull off in a visual medium. Readers do not like short, jerky POV switches, which makes this technique dang hard to pull off in written fiction. Not my cup of tea.

Heroine & Hero POV

I write romance. Therefore, I want, nay, I NEED to see both the hero and the heroine’s points of view. I love to see what they are both thinking and experiencing as they move through their character arcs. This can absolutely be done in 1st, but I find it more difficult.  Maybe if each chapter is dedicated, but I find it comes off feeling…odd. Much easier from 3rd.

Insight into Multiple Characters

Same as with the above, I actually love to get scenes in secondary character POVs. Doable in 1st, but better in 3rd.

Less Angsty Internal Thoughts

This might be the Gen-Xer in me, but I find most of the fiction written in 1st Person POV these days is just…self-centered and whiny. All we hear are the character’s internal angsty thoughts and it’s very, me, me, me just by nature. I find 3rd person allows the reader to distance themselves from an overabundance of internal dialogue.

Now don’t get me wrong. I read plenty of books in 1st person and love them. 3rd just happens to be my preference. And yes, it probably dates me, but I’m okay with that. Lol. What about you? What’s your preference?

 


I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

Spotlight: An Angel’s Unintentional Entanglement by Tena Stetler

Congrats to my lovely friend Tena on her release day!!! An Angel’s Unintentional Entanglement is Book 4 in Tena’s Demon’s Witch series, but stands alone and can be read out of order…

ABOUT THE BOOK

Fallen warrior angel, Caden Silverwind, lives alone in Colorado’s rugged Rockies, healing from physical wounds as well as the mental anguish suffered during battles with dark demons. Then he finds a woman barely clinging to life after a horrendous beating. He is not prepared for the entanglement she brings to his life, nor the feelings she awakens in him.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Agent, Mystic Rayne’s personal dilemma and assignment nearly gets her killed. Divine intervention is a complication she never expected and her growing attraction to Caden is undeniable. Can she trust him with her secret?

Their quest to uncover her attacker takes them from the pristine mountains in Colorado to the wilds of Wyoming. Along the way, they find answers which may place them in more danger. Determined to solve the mystery, they must also navigate their feelings and fears to find love and unite heaven and earth.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Print | Wild Rose Press

 

Tena is holding a Facebook Party on August 10th with tons of great games & giveaways. Don’t miss out!

 

 

When I’m Not Writing… #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

I would love to say that when I’m not writing I have a life. But that would be a lie.

Sort of. I have my wonderful family, so frequently any time not spent on writing/books in some form or fashion is spent with them. My kids are at that stage where it’s constant activities, homework, and friends. Less “Mom Time” these days, because–let’s face it–I’m not cool enough any more. We do try to force upon them things like family vacations and game nights, just to remind them we still exist. We also live close to both sides of our family, so we spend time with them as well, which is awesome. It’s why we moved back to Texas a few years ago.

“But Abigail, what about other hobbies?” you ask.

Oh, my friends. My other hobbies include book cover design and helping other authors in their self-publishing journeys. These are my brain breaks and, believe it or not, I love doing that. Especially the graphic design. I can get lost in the visuals when I really want to. However, I think most would agree that this hobby still lands in the “writing realm.”

“Okay, so you still have to do things like exercise. Right?” 

Ummm… So a while ago I bought a treadmill desk. This wonderful invention allows me to walk and write at the same time. I will take 20 minutes or so to add things like hand weights, sit ups, push ups, etc. I used to run a ton, and every once in a while I get the bug. I go on an easy short jog, and my aging body proceeds to laugh in my face and break in some way that means no running for weeks.

“Friends? Movies? Dinners out?”

You’re starting to sound a little desperate. I will say that I do all three of those. Well…I don’t “do” my friends, but I spend time with them. Hubby and I are also huge movie buffs. For Mother’s Day he got me Movie Pass, so I can go any time. We also have a theater in our house with a projector and full screen and everything. When I watch at home, guess what I’m doing? Yup writing. Or editing. Or reading. Or book cover design.

“Please tell me you have SOMETHING.”

I will say that my favorite non-book thing to do is travel. Hubs and I love to travel, both with and without the kids. We have our annual trip to Estes Park, but we love doing lots of other things. In 2018 we’ve done a Caribbean cruise, skiing in Colorado, and have plans for trips to Vegas and Orlando this fall. That said, our trip to Estes was piggy-backed onto a writing conference in Denver. Orlando is also a writing conference. I also usually still spend a lot of that time writing. At the very least I take notes of impressions of a place, in case I want to use it in a future book.

So. There you have it. I have no life outside my writing. But the thing is… I am as happy as a clam dug deep into warm, wet sand. Writing is my lifelong dream and I get to do it everyday. Doesn’t get better than that!


I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

Spotlight: Dark Opius by Dariel Raye & Muffy Wilson

One passionate decision can be hell for an archangel.

Pitted against Asmodeus and his army of demons, unexpected human emotions—jealousy, doubt, even love—threaten his most basic beliefs. Gabriel must protect those he has come to love and unite the warring factions against their common enemy, Asmodeus, while controlling the foreign, often debilitating emotions that torment him.

Gabriel’s mission from God was simple. At least that’s what he thought, until Helen Warner, his charge, loses her husband in the cataclysmic disaster perpetuated by Asmodeus, the ruthless demon of lust. Unable to stand by and watch while Helen plummets, losing her faith and her will to live, Gabriel defies the rules that have governed his entire existence and plunges to earth with no regard for the consequences.

Problem? Intervening without God’s permission sets him on a dangerous course rife with deadly distractions and pitfalls, and now, his immortal soul hangs in the balance. His life becomes even more complicated when he befriends Narsaé, a beautiful, powerful, yet untrained force in her own right.

Can Gabriel save their home, all the besieged residents, and Watchtower 11, sending Asmodeus and his army of demons to a fiery Hell? Failure means certain death for all.

But Gabriel must face an even more difficult challenge than war and death—will he risk Heaven, immortality, and his very soul for the love of Narsaé?

Excerpt

Few people owned or drove their own vehicles anymore. Most made their commutes through air shuttles, free transportation services for people who worked at least twenty-hours a week. The air shuttles zipped through the air on hidden railways, commissioned and supported by the national government’s alliance with major advertisers.

“We interrupt this broadcast with an emergency message from—” The announcer’s voice was abruptly cut off by more static, heavier this time.

“Wonder what’s going on now?” James asked.

“No telling. Always something. I don’t know what this world is coming to.”

Helen closed her eyes, unconcerned about the interruption. Enjoying riding with the top down in their long, antique Chevy convertible, she reminisced about her life with James. It seemed only yesterday they had met at the small teachers’ college in Gainesville. She had been in the middle of a heated argument with a chauvinistic male classmate who did not believe a woman should be head of the athletic department. Her classmate was slowly backing down, but she would never forget the way James stood beside her with his muscular arms folded, quiet yet protective.

Her smile broadened as she considered the many changes that had taken place in her life. Once married to James, she had set yet another precedent by opening her now-successful sports bar that doubled as a homeless shelter. James assisted her every evening after work except Fridays in the fall and winter months. His Fridays were usually filled coaching high school football games. It was hard to believe thirteen years could pass so quickly.

The couple had been accompanied by static for the last five minutes, but Helen didn’t mind. She was so happy James had suggested the country drive, no destination in mind. She opened her eyes, enjoying the breeze and the closeness of her James, feeling like the luckiest woman in the world. Better yet, she knew she had to be one of the most blessed.

Closing her eyes again, she immersed herself in her own private praise session, but in the middle of her silent prayer of thanks, she heard James’ voice louder than she’d ever heard him yell before. His alarm registered inside her, and a heart-wrenching scream began to explode between her ribs before she could open her eyes to witness what appeared to be Hell opening to devour them. Debris flew at them full force, seemingly in slow motion and from every direction.

Overtaken by dark, violent clouds, she saw the air shuttles and rails fall from the sky, the heavy metal train cars flying helplessly through the air like paper on the wind just before the sun completely disappeared, abandoning them to complete and utter darkness.

Helen heard rubber fighting to maintain position as their large vehicle screeched and turned, trapped in the sudden, ungodly storm. James’ voice crescendoed to summon non-existent assistance, lost in the howling wind, and metal clashed to meld and change form as the car skidded, levitating on a heavy dark cloud. Finally, the car rolled aimlessly, colliding with everything in its path. The last thing she remembered was reaching for James as she called out, “Oh, Lord, please have mercy!”

Helen tried to open her eyes, but they seemed to be welded shut by some unknown force. She could no longer hear James, nor could she feel him. A powerful sense of foreboding overtook her, causing her normally strong heart to palpitate wildly. Someone else was there, had been there through the storm. She heard the whispers that seemed to emanate from a source connected to her heart. “Be quiet. Be still. It is out of your control, and all will work out as it should.” The voice was not one, but two—male and female speaking as one—as if unsure which would comfort her most.

 

 

Spotlight: Oath of a Warrior by Mary Morgan

Mary Morgan is a fellow Wild Rose Press author, and she writes the most wonderful dragon shifters series, which has spun off into a new series of fae warriors. Mary is visiting us today to share about the background to her latest release…

Scotland, Witches, and Queen of the Faeries
In doing research for Oath of a Warrior, Legends of the Fenian Warriors, Book 2, I came across hundreds of cases pertaining to witches and the witch trials in Scotland. The records of Scotland’s witch trials spanned over a period of 200 years during the 16th and 17th centuries. However, I did find evidence of several women being burned, or executed in the late 15th century. This was a dark period in Scottish history, exposing a culture of fear and panic that cast a cloud over much of Scotland.

Some of the charges brought against these individuals ranged from belonging to a coven, receiving herbs from the Queen of the Faeries, and using charms against another person. It did not matter if you were a servant or upper class, either. If you wanted to rid yourself of someone, all you had to do was accuse the person of being a witch.

Erina was a wonderful character to write and one I knew who would appeal to Rory. She loved her garden and animals, tended to those who required healing, made love charms, and believed in the old ways. This was a perfect combination for any to accuse her of dealing in the black arts. Yet, she never saw herself as a witch. Only someone who was different. Sadly, even in this century, we tend to look at others who do not walk the same path as the majority as odd.

OATH OF A WARRIOR

You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!

Fenian Warrior, Rory MacGregor’s love conquests are legendary, but he has never spoken of the one mortal female who captured his heart. After his dark secret is finally revealed, he is ordered to return and seal the wounds left open by her death. Yet, he finds the timeline altered and swears an oath to rewrite fate, even if it brings about his own death.

Erina MacIntyre is known for her healing herbs and love charms. Determined to aid others, she refuses to listen to the whispers that call her a witch. When a Highlander steps forth into her path, he ignites a thread of strange familiarity and sparks a flame of desire she is unable to control.

Can the destiny of two lovers find love once more among the ashes of death and betrayal? Or will history repeat itself, leaving a scorching path of destruction for both mortals and Fae alike?

DON’T MISS OUT!
AMAZON | B&N

Shadowcat Nation – Boxed Set!!!

Looky, looky what’s now available in a boxed set
from The Wild Rose Press!!!

Fall in love with mountain lion shifters in this fantastic boxed set, including award-winning Andromeda’s Fall

Only $5.99 for ALL 4
Shadowcat Nation books!

Don’t miss out…

 

 

In an Alpha-male driven shifter world, it will take the strength and will of four women to secure the peace the Shadowcat Nation so desperately needs. But can they follow their hearts to love when everything in this world is against them?

ABOUT EACH BOOK

Andromeda’s Fall
Andromeda Reynolds is being hunted. Kyle Carstairs will force their mating, seeking the added political power their union would provide. Andie would rather chew off her own foot than end up with Kyle, so she must run. Her only hope of survival is to mate Jaxon Keller, the Alpha of the Keller Dare with which she is seeking asylum. But before she can get to him, Andie must first go through A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors.

Sarai’s Fortune
Sarai Bouchard doesn’t need her supernatural gift to know that Kyle Carstairs’s obsession with controlling her ability will eventually result in her misery and demise. Her power is essential to her people’s survival, so when Kyle goes rogue, she’s sent to Zac Montclair to keep her safe. However, her visions reveal that while staying will lead to their becoming lovers, it also leads to his death. Leaving Zac will result in her own. If Sarai can’t find a way to change the future, she will be forced to choose…save her lover or save herself.

Tieryn’s Fury
The day Shane Callahan lost his wife and was forced to run from the only home they’d ever known was the day he’d vowed he’d kill every last man responsible. He’s waited years in hiding, but is finally on the verge of taking his revenge. Until he is assigned to protect Tieryn McGraw–a Healer and the pampered princess as the daughter of an Alpha–and is forced to halt in his quest. Shane needs her to heal more than his body. But can Tieryn heal his soul and prove to him that love is a higher purpose than revenge?

Seneca’s Faith
Seneca Delaney is a known latent, unable to shift. She’s remained in her dare, enduring rejection and isolation all her life, even from her own father, because she had no other place to go. Standing on the sidelines yet again while Gage McAvoy marries her older sister to keep the dare from falling apart is the last thing she wants to do. Then circumstance throws her together with the one man she can’t have, trying to save a nation of shifters who don’t want her, and risking the exposure of lifelong secrets that could result not only in her death, but in Gage’s.

Stranded on a Desert Island – #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

You know the game… if you were stranded on a desert island, assuming things like food, water, shelter, and clothing (and for me air conditioning) were taken care of at the most basic level for survival, what item would you choose to bring with you. In other words, what item can you NOT live without.

This is probably going to shock you, but it would be my… COMPUTER!

Are you shocked? No? The various reason why might surprised you a bit, though. Even without internet, and assuming I’ll have a way to charge said computer (my island, my rules – HA!), there are so many facets of my computer that would help me on a desert island. I’ll start with the obvious…

Writing My Books

Having my computer means I could spend all that time with some manner of distraction writing my books. Not just because I need to write my books (which I do), but to also give me a purpose. I don’t sit idly well.

Kindle App w/ Books

I have a lot of books on that app which (I think) can be accessed without internet as long as they were downloaded first (which most are). Entertainment and friends come out of books for me. It’s the next best thing to real people. (Sometimes a good book is better than real people.)

Some Movies and Music

Seeing other faces and hearing voices (not in my head) would help with the whole sanity thing I think.

Journal My Experience

On the off chance I don’t survive, this would be a good way to let my family know what happened (assuming someone discovers the island). Plus, I’d sneak clues in there about my buried treasure.

Calendar

The calendar would help me keep track of the days and time.

Reflective Surface

To possible signal passing ships or planes with.

Pictures of My Family

This is the biggie. If they’re physically not with me, I’d want my computer with pictures of them. I couldn’t live without some access to my family. They would be my reason to keep going and survive.

 

What about you? What item could you not live without?

 


I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

Best Gift Ever: Zombies & a Silver Bullet (#MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge)

I count myself lucky. I grew up in a family of gift givers and I married a very thoughtful giver. It’s made me appreciate putting thought into the gifts I give, tailoring a present to the person and their unique interests or something you share. We’ll get to gift giving next week. This week on the MFRW Blog Challenge, we’re talking about the best gift we’ve ever received.

I didn’t have to think hard about this one, because I know my favorite gift. You might think it would be my engagement ring (which I adore), or my first car (which was a surprise from my parents). Or perhaps a gift like the blanket with mine and my husband’s names embroidered on it that was a wedding gift, or the baby blankets a friend knitted my kids, or the wonderful memory book given to us by our bridesmaids and groomsmen at our wedding. While all of those are wonderful and mean so much to me, my favorite is a little…unusual.

 

To give a little context: My dad likes to give coins as special gifts now and then. He researches the artwork and history and quality and all the things you research about coins. He likes to give particularly beautiful coins. Usually.

Meanwhile, my dad loves to tease me about my slight obsession with planning for random catastrophic events. I plan for the strangest things. For example, when we were living in California, with all of our family still in Texas, I came up with a plan for “if the apocalypse happens how do we meet back up.” That’s right. Because I assumed things like phone lines and cell phones would be knocked out. A little bit nuts, I’m well aware. I also love all things zombie–The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Love them all.

For Christmas a few years ago, I received a gift from my dad. The card said “From Survivalist Santa” which cracked me up to begin with. Inside the bag I found a silver bullet (because werewolves), a regular coin, and a zombie version of that coin (the front on the left and the back is in the other picture).

To this day, this gift makes me smile because Dad both gets me and is teasing me at the same time. I should mention that I learned my paranoid planning from him. Lol.  I still have the bag and little note with all the items.

Thanks Dad! Love you. 🙂

What is your best gift ever?


I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.