SHE’S BACK!!!!

I’m back! Refreshed, renewed, retired! Yep, you are looking at a free woman. “Free! Free! Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!”

Okay, nursing wasn’t that bad. In fact, except for the physical demands it made on my body in the last few years, I loved nursing as much as I love writing. I always felt blessed that I got paid to do something I had such a passion to do…take care of children.

One thing you have to know about me is that I love children.  From newborn to adolescents. I won’t say every color because to me no child has a “color”. I even love baby animals of all kinds.  Oh, except spiders.  And cockroaches.  I even loved my baby brother…at least, until he was old enough to drive me crazy.

I know there are people who don’t understand loving children other than their own. To me, all children are MY own. I truly believe it takes a village to raise a child, but admit, there are certain members of the village who shouldn’t come near children. Most often because the “adult” hasn’t grown up themselves. But give me a child and they’re mine forever!

Children have this remarkable ability to see the world in black and white. To a child, you aren’t a flawed person; you are either good or bad.  They are very direct and honest until someone teaches them to lie. Everything is new and watching them learn about the world around them is fascinating.

They’re not perfect. Nothing can be crueller than a child. Their honesty has to tempered with empathy. Because they’re born with only knowledge of themselves, they have to be taught to care about others and their feelings. All without depressing their natural need to evolve.

Kids are loving and hurtful. Uneducated and wise. Silly and capable of maturity beyond their age when disaster faces them. What’s not to like about a child? So, though I have to leave my first love, nursing sick and injured children, I’ll look back at all the kids in my life and tell them thank you. Thank you for the woman you made me today. And thank you for all the years of joy, tears, aggravation, and gratitude you gave me. I’ll always be there for you guys!

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The Importance of Promotion

Everyone knows I’ve been promoting my new release, but I wonder if I should have been doing more. And a lot sooner. I didn’t seriously start promoting the book until its release day and from what I’ve seen on TWRP author loop, a lot of people start getting the word out much earlier. They do blog tours for up to 2 weeks before the release date, they send the book out to reviewers not on TWRP reviewer distribution list, they have A LOT of give-a-ways, do blog hops (where there are several other authors involved), and the list goes on.

I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well locally. After all, I’ve talked about my writing for years wherever I go. All my doctor’s offices, the dentist, chiropractor, etc. But once all of these folks have bought the book, then what? Who will I sell it to then?

I guess my question is, what should I have done differently? I think this question is pretty relevant as I think there are several others in our group that are on the cusp of selling. This info can prove helpful to them, too. Or they may already know how to promote their book much better than I’ve done.

Using the internet is a given. You can set up Events on Facebook and invite everyone that you think can make it there. Like signings. Why invite someone who lives hundreds of miles away when you know they won’t drive all that distance? But then again, you never know. One gentleman and his wife drove 225 miles to come to my first signing and I didn’t even know him. We were both from the same small town, but that’s it. I was SO amazed that he’d do that.

I really don’t want all of these posts to be self-serving, but like I said earlier, others can benefit.

My question is: if you’re close to publishing, do you have a ‘Battle Plan’ in place to promote/sell your book? Where did you get your advice or idea, and are you willing to share?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Speaking of promotion, here’s the bottom line from The Romance Studio review, which gave me a 5 Heart rating.

“Overall, this author has done an exceptional job of penning this novel, of which I want to read again and again because it showed that no mother should give up hope of finding their child alive after they’ve been abducted.”

Is that cool or what? {big stupid grin}

If you want to check out my book, here’s a link: The Wild Rose Press

Are All Romance Novels The Same?

I had a little trouble sleeping in the wee hours, and I got to thinking about what people who don’t like (or probably have never read) romance novels say about the genre.

“They’re all the same. They have to be, since they all have the same ending.”

Every year, several thousand romance titles are published. According to the ROMStat Report, there were over eight thousand romance titles published in 2010.

How are that many different romances written each year?

I decided to look at it backward. (No surprise. I do a lot of things backward.)

HEA

Every romance novel (no matter what subgenre) has an *HEA ending. (*That’s Happily Ever After for the uninformed.)

In fact, that’s part of the definition of a romance novel. It has to have an HEA (or at least satisfactory) ending.

To get to an HEA ending without it being the same as all the others, you must have

CONFLICT!

The exclamation point is there because to be really good, it has to be conflict that’s on steroids. By that, I mean conflict can’t be so-so. It’s got to have emotional punch.

The example given in most workshops on conflict the hero is a fire fighter and the heroine is an arsenist.

And to carry conflict like that, you’ve got to have

GREAT CHARACTERS

Characters who are strong enough (or find the strength) to stand up to that conflict on steroids.

If the hero is a fire fighter, has should probably come from a family of fire fighters for seven generations. Fire fighting/rescue has to be part of the hero’s DNA.

And he has to love it. Has to volunteer to work anytime someone needs a day off. Has to have a house full of awards and a collection of fire fighter helmets from all over the US and the world covering his walls. And his art is made up of pictures of the great fires.

The heroine is an arsonist, and she loves what she does. She isn’t sick. When she started, she had a reason for setting those fires. And it got in her blood. She loves the smell of the fire, the feel of the heat on her face, the excitement that happens when it’s discovered and the thrill when, ultimately, it’s extinguished.

She has pictures of the same fires on her wall.

PLOT

To carry the entire thing, you must have an intriguing plot. I wish I could say that’s the easy part. It’s not. It’s easier, though, when you know your people and the reason they can never in the course of the world ever be together.

You, and only you, are the only person who can get them to that particular, very special HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

And it can never be the same as any other book because nothing else is the same.

Now, write it. 🙂

Games

“We deserve to be forgotten. ”

“Perhaps, perhaps.”

Can you guess what that quote is from? Yeah, don’t bother, It’s from the Halo anniversary video game. Not sure why, but I found it intriguing. Maybe its all the Sociology, philosphy, and such classes I’ve had this week. Stupid college, making me think!:p

After closing my Philosophies of Life book a moment ago, and taking a bite of melted fruit snacks, I realized that today was in fact friday, and that I had fallen asleep last night without writing for today. In the next panicked moments I grabbed the laptop from Nathan, told him to play Halo, and began to think of a subject. He threw out various topics for me; Video games, movies, cleavage, food….you know, guy stuff. But in the end I decided to just take a shot in  the dark and start writing without a topic in mind, like I usually do.

You never really notice the intense amounts of creativity that go into some things. Halo, for example, showcases a large rounded pistol with purple spikes sticking out of it. The gun is called a Needler, and those spikes explode. See what I mean: Imagination. Nathan insisted that I mention that there is a plasma pistol that shoots “green sparkly balls of happiness…that happen to kill people”.

I know I can’t do the video games any justice, but in the past few weeks I’ve seen so many different concepts and things that spark my interest that I can’t help but thank games for getting the muse going sometimes. Games are highly visual(Duh), and the best ones, in my opinion, are heavily plot driven. You never know what will get you thinking. For example, I do not enjoy westerns. Just in general, i find them boring. But I’ve watched Nathan play Red Dead Redemption, and It caught my attention. It is the story of a former outlaw whose wife and son are kidnapped and he must team up with the US Marshalls to catch his old posse and save his loved ones so he can go live peacefully on a farm….or something like that. The point is, I sat there watching the game slack jawed by how sucked in i was. I may not write a western, but I was inspired on one level or another to write.

So this week, instead of a question, I challenge you, in whatever free time you have, to wikipedia or google a few random games, read their plots, and see if you can find one to make you think.

I Have a Title!

 I heard from my editor at Forever, and we have both a title and a pub date for the first margarita book. A HERO TO COME HOME TO will be available 15 June 2013. Yea!!

The series name will stay the Tuesday Night Margarita Club, which is also a yea!! for me. I like that a lot — and *I* thought of it. Something *I* thought of is sticking! That doesn’t happen often.

Of course, you’ll be hearing way more about it as the time comes closer. I’ll be creating a Facebook author page, doing a new website (once we have the final cover to work off — the mockup is gorgeous!) and having some contests when it comes time. And I’ll remind you about everything. I know. I’m having a squee moment, but I love this book and want everyone in the universe to love it, too.

Have a good weekend, guys!

 

Patience

I love ghosts stories–no secret there. The problem is over the last few years there have been very few of them written. In paranormal romance, ghosts stories have been practically non-existent. The sub-genre has been full of demons, werewolves, shapeshifters, and of course vampires. Even the Horror genre has been rife with the same old, same old–werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Oh my!

Ah, but on a recent trip to Barnes and Nobles, I was delighted to see ghosts stories. Not in the Horror section or in paranormal romance. But in the mystery section. Yes, ghosts are making a come back. I’ve got my fingers crossed that soon we’ll seem flitting about in romance and horror again. 

Most new writers are advised don’t write for the market. Write what you would want to read. I’ve got a plethora (always wanted to use that word) of ghost stories written. So maybe now, my time has come. 

Time will tell if patience is truly a virtue. 

Do You Need Permission?

As most of you know, I’ve been on a blog tour the last couple of weeks. The last blog stop will be on the 31st btw. But something was said on one of the comments the other day that I’d like to expand on. And that’s giving yourself permission.

Huh? What do I mean by giving yourself permission? Just that. Give yourself permission to not be the perfect mom, the world’s best housekeeper or any number of things that keep you from doing what you want the most. I’m going to assume it’s writing (since this is a blog about writing).

Years ago, I thought I could never write an entire book. Then this story started bugging me…big time. I finally listened but still wasn’t sure if I could do it. Yes, I was afraid. (Aren’t we all afraid of something?) I thought about it long and hard and finally gave myself permission to try. Whatever the outcome, at least I would have stepped outside my comfort zone and given it a shot.

It wasn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. I took classes at the community college, then joined a romance writers group, went to conferences and workshops, networked, took online classes. i.e. I worked at learning the craft. I admit I’m slow, but I kept plugging along. Now all these years later, I’ve published my first book and I’m looking forward to cranking out more. I’m receiving good feedback and reviews on the book, which validates my efforts.

All because I gave myself permission.

So I’m telling you, whatever you’re passionate about, whether it’s writing, quilting, crafts, photography, scuba diving, go for it. I don’t care what your age is, that’s just a number, anyway. Take classes, find a support group, and pursue that dream, that passion. What have you got to lose? (Um, not a thing.)

Give yourself permission! You’ll be glad you did.

Linda Trout

Grave Secrets

The Wild Rose Press