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Monday, October 21, 2013

I Dare You To Blurb...

Happy Monday/Tuesday All,

It's been long while since I've blogged. A big chunk of the reason is that I've been knee-deep in revisions for Immortal Dreams Book 1:  Dream Weaver--mine and Critique Partners' revisions--so I can send it out. It's not done, yet, but recent events in my life have inspired me to write this blog post.

Besides synopses  I'm of the opinion that blurbs are hard to write. After all, you have to sum up your story in a few short paragraphs (or one paragraph) without giving away everything, but still giving the reader an idea of what your story is about--including, in some way, genre. 

Some blurbs are taken directly from query letters. Think about it. When you query an agent or editor you have to encourage them to want to read the entire thing. So the blurb you include has to include enough information where they have an idea of what you're writing, but without giving away every single last detail of the story. 

A question I used to help with
the early writing of ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE & LION's
blurb
Blurbs tell the reader WHO (main character/s) WHAT (what do they want?) and WHY (why do they want it?) The "meaty" stuff and the HOW are in your novel. But you need to tell the reader enough for them to want to see the journey. 

Todd Stone talked about this in the 2009 Lone Star Conference I attended.  This post I wrote about the Conference gives the hints and tools Mr. Stone gave to writing a pitch/blurb. (For the record, the story Conjure A Man, that I was working on at the time of the writing of that particular post is currently on hold, and the name Delaney Ryan has been changed to Rita Blake).

Some people have an easier time writing blurbs than others. But whether or not you have an easy time or a hard time writing a blurb, they are necessary. One example is Christie Craig's blurb for her story, Only In Texas

My blurb for All's Fair In Love & Lion gives the WHO, WHAT, & WHY for the story, without giving away all the details. 

We writers worry about giving everything away. To do this, you need a blurb that organizes the WHO, WHAT, & WHY into a format that makes your readers and potential readers go
"Wow! I must read this book!" 

No, it's not always easy. I didn't claim it was. However, it is possible. Also, make sure you send your blurb to a critique partner or freelance editor. Have them chime in. My critique partner looked at all the versions of my blurb before I ever submitted them to my publisher.

To summarize:

*Blurbs tell the basic WHO, WHAT & WHY of the story leaving the "meat" (and HOW) for the book itself. 

*Blurbs give CLUES as to what the story is about to readers, agents, and editors.

*Always get critique partners or a freelance editor to look over your blurbs before sending them to your publisher or agent (or, if you self-publish, posting them).

*Study other authors' blurbs to get ideas on how to write yours.

Hope this helps!

Have A Marvelously Merry Monday & Have A Tip-Top Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning Unforgettable Writing Techniques...

Happy Tuesday All,

I promise, I didn't do it on purpose. Really.

The NWHRWA Lone Star Conference came around and I...

Forgot my camera!

However, I did, in fact, go, and there are a ton of witnesses who will attest to the fact I was there. For all I know, RM Brand might have gotten a photo of me during the time I was down in the
Conference room helping them set up before it started. 


Donald Maass was unable at the last minute to come. His family had an emergency, so he had to back out. However, he was nice enough to do his best to help us get someone. In the end, James Scott Bell, who came last year, rescued us and returned with a brand-new topic. (I give Raven Raye, our 1st V.P. a lot of credit for dealing with this unforeseen situation, she worked so hard and deserves a standing ovation).

Friday night, I attended (by invitation) the Meet & Greet. I got to sit down and chat with agent Kevan Lyon, who is authors Jennifer L. Armentrout and Katie McGarry's agent. We had a delightful conversation, and I learned some awesome things about Armentrout's New Adult books. Ms. Lyon also spoke very excitedly about a McGarry novel (not yet available--and a title she didn't divulge), so that was fun.

Saturday dawned bright and early (especially since at first I woke up at 4 a.m. and went back to sleep, then woke at 6:15 a.m. when my alarm went off). I got ready, and headed downstairs. Since I was so early, the conference room wasn't completely set up, so I helped the 1st Vice President of my chapter set up.

The coffee service finally arrived, and we all made a beeline for that (some chose tea). People began trickling in, registering, and getting their name tags. 

NWHRWA current President, Susan Muller (author of The Secrets of Forest Bend, and The Witch On Twisted Oak), welcomed everybody, and then 1st Vice President, Raven Raye (author of Broken Prophecy) introduced keynote speaker James Scott Bell who started us off by announcing that he thought he'd figured out the greatest secret to writing unforgettable fiction. However, we had to wait until the end of the conference to find out what that was.


Meanwhile, I headed out about an hour later to where I was going to go help time pitch sessions for Harlequin Editor, Rachel Burkot. Ms. Burkot was extremely gracious, and I enjoyed talking to her about the industry, and her role at Harlequin. 



During lunch, 2nd Vice President, Jaye Garland (author of The 25th Hour) announced the final placement of the Lone Star Contest winners. Excerpts of the 1st place winners were read (so many good ones, by the way). She gave a great presentation. A couple of the winners were there, so it was nice to get to say hello to them, and also congratulate them.

After lunch, I went ahead and sat in to hear the rest of the Conference. Mr. Bell was going through the movie, The Fugitive to describe different ways of drawing out tension, and livening up your novels (whether your write Romance, Thrillers, or other genre).  It was very interesting, and a great way to illustrate his points.

At the end of the Conference Mr. Bell gave us the secret to the greatest secret of writing unforgettable fiction. Which, I can't share. You'll just have to attend James Scott Bell's Don't Let 'Em Put The Book Down workshop for yourself to find out. 

I'm sad Conference time is over, but feeling blessed I got to go. If you're a writer, please do consider coming down next year. Our Lone Star Conference is generally held in October.

Have A Terrifically Thrilling Tuesday!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fairy-Tale Teachers...

Happy Thursday & Friday All (Since I'm going to leave this post up for both days),

Saturday is the NWHRWA Lone Star Writer's Conference. I've been really looking forward to it. Donald Maass is the keynote speaker and I believe it's going to be another great conference. This is my 5th year going. I can hardly believe it's been that long already, but I'm excited. This Fall marks 6 years as a member of the NWHRWA. The group is just awesome. So many talented authors. Many of them have become friends of mine, and I'm very grateful to them and the entire group, for their support and encouragement over the years. I'm telling you, they are really warm and caring. If you're a writer and ever get a chance to come down for one of our conferences and/or meetings, please do.

Today I'm thinking about the lessons we can learn from fairy-tales. I know, usually they're kind of "fluffy" or "cheesy", but I've been thinking about even though oftentimes the heroine is a "damsel-in-distress" rather than a "tough cookie", she sometimes shows her own strength.

Take Cinderella. For years she endures the abuse of her step-mother and step-sisters, who are jealous of her beauty and kindness. She could always haul off and slap them, but instead, quietly does her work, and dreams of when things can be better. When the opportunity arises, she seizes it in both hands and makes the most of it--winning the heart of the prince. Her journey isn't easy, and she often looks weak, but in the end, her tenacity and belief in things getting better--and then taking the chance when given--she gets her happily-ever-after. (The Grimm Brothers version is bloodier than most, having the step-sisters cutting off parts of their foot to fit in the slipper, but the general story is the same).


What about Beauty (or "Belle", if you prefer)? She takes care of her family and loves her father deeply. When the Beast threatens her father because he took a rose without permission, even though she's scared and doesn't know what will happen, she courageously takes her father's place. Eventually she and the Beast fall in love, he changes back into a prince, and she's rewarded for her unselfishness. (The original French version--at least the ones I've read/seen--have Beauty/Belle dreaming of the prince).

Those are just two examples (from my two favorite fairy-tales). What are some other examples from fairy-tales where there's a lesson about being a good person?

Have A Totally Terrific Thursday and a Fantastically Fascinating Friday!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who's The Gilty One?

Happy Tuesday Everybody,


As promised, today is a special treat...an official blog book review and it's a brand-new release:

Laura Childs strikes again with her newest Scrapbooking Mystery, Gilt Trip.

When Carmela Bertrand and her best pal, Ava Gruiex attend a high society shindig celebrating the release of Jerry Earl Leland from jail (only because Carmela designed the invitations and Margo—Jerry Earl’s wife—decided Carmela must be at the party), the last thing on their minds is murder.

However, when searching for something to dab a stain on Ava’s blouse, Carmela runs across a murder victim stuffed in the dryer. And not just any victim. Jerry Earl himself. 

With her boyfriend/detective, Edgar Babock, out of town, his no-nonsense assistant Bobby Gallant is on the case. And he has no interest in Carmela sticking her nose in the investigation. In fact, Carmela has no interest in doing that either—even going so far as to promise Babock she won’t.

However, when the distraught widow begs (okay, let's be honest, leaves no room to say no) Carmela finds herself in the middle of a messy situation filled with business enemies, and prison gangs (one that references “the end of the world”) and a host of other things she hadn't planned on being a part of.

The whole thing gets worse when Jerry Earl’s assistant is next on the murderer’s hit list.

Can Carmela figure it all out so the right person goes to jail—or will she be too late?


You can purchase your copy of Gilt Trip today,  October 1, 2013, from the following...


Hope everyone has a Tip-Top Tuesday!