This! Friday! (Woohoo!!!)

 

Have I mentioned MAKE ME HOWL comes out on Kindle this Friday? I’m so excited, I could just scream. Even after all the critiques, edits and reads, I still like this book. Go figure. 🙂

In celebration, I thought I’d post one of my favorite scenes from the beginning of the book.

I have a question at the bottom. Post your answer here and I’ll put your name in a drawing for a prize!

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Cool air stirred my hair, tickling the back of my neck and down my spine as I slowly drifted toward consciousness. I was a bit light-headed, and my eyes were all but glued shut. And the really bad part, mouth tasted as if it were full of downtown Dallas dirty cotton.

The morning was fragrant with a light scent. Wildflowers? Unable to imagine where I was, I rolled over then stretched the kinks out of my arms. Another breeze wafted over me, swirling over my naked breasts, down my belly and along my thighs.

“Jazzy?”

Hearing Bella whisper my name, I was tempted to pretend I was still sleeping. “Um?”

“Jazzy, look at me.”

After working a moment, I was able to open my eyes. I tried to look at Bella, but her face kept going in and out of focus behind the bars.

Bars?

Abruptly I sat up, my head swimming at the sudden motion. “Bella?” I practically coughed the word, my throat hurt so.

Her gaze was filled with concern. I hated that look, as if as the moments-older twin, she was responsible for me. “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not okay.” I paused to control the bristle prickling down my spine. Then I whispered between my clamped jaws, not bothering to use telepathy since there was no one around. “What am I doing here? Naked?”

. . . .

Bella’s mouth dropped open and her eyes grew wide with horror as she looked around. “Doc’s coming back and Norman’s with him. You’d better go primal. Quick.”

As if it was that easy. I couldn’t just wiggle my nose like some TV witch—I had to allow myself to release. And after a lifetime of learning control, that wasn’t easy.

I took a moment to settle myself, to find my center. Arranging my hair so I was well covered, I got to my knees then sat on my heels. “You know, last night, when you and Doc abandoned me, Norman became a huge pest. He kept at me, wanting me to dance with him.”

Bella’s “Um,” irritated me. Annoyance tingled my exposed skin, running along my collarbone and down the insides of my arms.

“He wouldn’t leave me alone. It was so gross.” I straightened as angry lightning strikes marched down my back. “Then he insisted I finish my drink because he wanted to buy me another. Bella, I thought I was going to have to decapitate him to get him to leave me alone. I decided to just take off and let you find another way home. But after I finished my drink—and I only had the one Doc bought me—I don’t remember anything. It’s as if I got lost in the night.”

I gathered my fury like a fiery orb in my chest.

“You know I never have a memory lapse except during a blood moon phase or if I lose control. I wasn’t that angry.”

A simple full moon hadn’t done that to me since I was three years old.

“That son of a cur must have slipped me a roofie. Why else would I have been out of control?” I allowed my rage to explode as I thought about the man putting a date rape drug in my drink.

My body stung as the bristles burst through my skin, but I exalted in the sensation as my face narrowed, then lengthened. I loved the feeling of my body shifting from human to wolf shape. There’s never anything better than the power surge as it filled my muscles.

It’s exhilarating.

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I love it when Jazzy shifts to Wolf. She has so much fun!

So here’s your question: Have you ever wished you could be a shape shifter? If you were given the choice, what animal would you become?

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I HAVE A PUB DATE!

GUESS WHAT!

I received my pub date from my publisher. (Did the blog title give it away?)

Make Me Howl is going to be available on November 15, 2013!

 

HOWL!

I’m just a little(!) bit excited. *grins* Can you tell?

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I’m going to try to set up a Facebook page for Howl. (I think.) :)  If I do, I’ll need all my friends out there to like it. Well, the ones who read werewolf books.

All three of you. :)

In case you’re wondering, HOWL isn’t an inspirational. ;)  It’s the last book I wrote before I started trying inspirational. I’m still waiting to hear back on my first try with that genre. The tentative title is Texas Hearts. Prayers about that would be appreciated!

Okay, wait. I’m asking for prayers for God’s will with my writing, not that TH will sell. Although I’d love, love, love to write for the Lord, I really want to be solidly in His will.

Oh, and if you like werewolf books, HOWL is acomin’!

It’s not your normal werewolf book.

Ps: If you follow both SMART WOMEN and SMALL TOWN WORLD, this is a reblog.

What a Character!

Gray wolf. Français : Loup. Nederlands: Wolf T...

Kathleen Y’Barbo Turner mentioned on Facebook yesterday that her character, Sadie, wasn’t speaking to her. I nearly laughed out loud!

A memory hit me. A long, long time ago, I decided to take a class on writing romance. During that class, the teacher mentioned she thought it was ridiculous when a writer said she couldn’t get her character to do this or that. “After all, the writer is writing. She can make the character–a figment of her imagination–do anything she wants.”

I didn’t agree with the teacher then (I was too chicken to tell her, though) and now after writing umpteen manuscripts and selling three books, I still don’t.

Why?

Because when you create a character, you give them a certain history. They have a specific place in the sibling line up. They’ve had one set of experiences and have developed specific traits.

For a writer (well, this writer, anyway) her character is like having a living person in her life. They will surprise you from time to time, but they have to be true to who they are. They don’t have a choice and the writer doesn’t have a choice.

That character can’t suddenly morph a new characteristic or change from a loner to a social butterfly because the writer has written herself in a corner.

So how does a writer develop a character?

I’m not sure how the big boys do it, but here’s what I do. To make it easy on myself, I’ll use my book, MAKE ME HOWL (soon to be published) as an example.

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BTW: There are some very intensive and excellent Character Fact Sheets out there, but I can’t don’t use them. I have to think about my story and what specific things I need to know about my characters.

  • Story Idea. What if some people were born werewolves because of a gene rather than being bitten by another werewolf? (After all, the first werewolf had to come from somewhere. Right?)
  • Heroine. I like strong heroines, I made the werewolf of the story my heroine named Jazzy.
  • Characteristics: What characteristics would a werewolf need? If a wolf became human, what would she want? As an animal, she’d definitely think about food. How she’d get places. And in this modern world, how to attack without physically attacking.
  • Since Jazzy was born a werewolf, she’d be self-assured because, after all, she can take care of herself in just about any situation.
  • And because it’s me writing this character, she’s snarky and tends to be a little mouthy. (I got to release my inner wolf!)
  • Family? Jazzy has a twin sister who isn’t a werewolf. (Jazzy got the werewolf gene, her sister got straight hair, so it all evens out in the end.) Their parents are still living, but no grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles in this story.
  • Favorite food? Steak, nearly raw (wolves + food = raw meat. Right?)
  • Car? Power! Small, fast, two seater.
  • Career? She wouldn’t be able to tolerate having a boss telling her what to do all the time, she might have to eat his face, so I made her a very successful personal shopper in an ultra nice shopping center, who also acts as a buying office for some of the stores in the mall. (Sets her own hours and deals with large amounts of money–her own and others.)
  • Hero. A hero has to match the heroine, so Chase is as strong a character as she is, if not stronger.
  • Chase is smart, very determined, plain spoken but not as snarky. (Snarky is too girly for a great hero.)
  • Career? Since Jazzy is a werewolf and loves being one, Chase has to be a veterinarian. A good character is part of the conflict, so he believes in werewolves and he’s doing research to wipe out the gene that causes it. 🙂
  • Food? A good couple has a lot in common, so his favorite food is steak, rare.
  • Car? He has a choice, since his family is extremely wealthy and his dad likes cars, they keep a full stable of them. 🙂
  • Family? He’s the oldest, has three brothers and great parents. They live together but separately in houses that are next to each other.

There’s much more to a character’s character. Her life that she lived before the story starts has a lot to do with who she is. As Doctor Phil says, to predict the future, look at a person’s past.  The interesting part about that is learning how to enhance the story with just that portion of her life only when we need to know. Never before. But the writer has to know it so she knows how the character will respond to things.

Now you see why Kathleen’s character wouldn’t speak to her. There’s something in her life that makes her very secretive. (I have a feeling it’s more than just a snoopy sister.) Now it’s Kathleen’s job to find out what it is.

 

    The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

    Thank you, Marilyn Pappano, for tagging me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I think.

    The Next Big Thing blog hop poses a series of questions to writers about their current WIP. Since Marilyn–author, critique partner, Mentor extraordinaire, darn nice woman–likes my upcoming TWRP book, MAKE ME HOWL, that’s the one I’ll be talking about.
    What is the working title of your book?
    MAKE ME HOWL.
    Where did the idea of the book come from?
    I’d just read a light paranormal, and thought, “That’s so much fun! I want to write something just like that, but different.” So I did.
    What genre does your book fall under?
    Light-ish Paranormal. (I tend to make up my own genres. Got a problem with that?)
    Which actor would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    Sorry. Not my job. I write ’em, you turn them into movies.
    Actually, I have no idea. My characters are real to me, and it’s hard to find someone I’d like to play them.

    What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

    Ugh. I didn’t know this was going to be work. 😦

    Because she was born with an active werewolf gene, when Jazzy Cannis meets Chase Holliday, she believes she can take a bite out of life and move on, until she learns two things: werewolves mate for life, and Chase Holliday plans to wipe werewolves from the face of the earth.

    Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    The book will be published by The Wild Rose Press.
    How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your project?
    About nine months or so. I think. 🙂
    What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
    Wow. This is hard.
    Well, it’s a little humorous and a little paranormal. Who writes like that?
    Who or what inspired you to write this story?
    My inner snark. (That’s what I call the voice in my head with the sharp comebacks. I TRY to keep under control.)
    I figured if I wrote a modern-day, got life by the tail woman who had a biting sense of humor and a killer sense of style, I could let Ms. Snark have free reign.
    So I did.
    What else about your book may pique readers’ interest?
    In Jazzy’s world, werewolves are either born that way and learn to control the “gift” by the time they’re three, or they’re bitten and are like rabid dogs during the full moon.
    While being born a werewolf is somewhat of a curse, it has its good points, too. For instance, werewolves are almost always successful in business. The higher up a werewolf is on the royal bloodline, the more successful they are.
    So now that I’ve answered the questions, I’m supposed to tag some other authors to find out what’s THE NEXT BIG THING they’re working on.

    Challenge

    Did I mention I sold MAKE ME HOWL to The Wild Rose Press? I did! (Yay!) Now the real work begins.

    One of the biggest challenges for me is to take something I’ve written and make it short enough to fit on the back of a book. Each time I get the notice that I need to send in the blurb for a book, I have the same reaction.

    I throw myself face-first on the floor, where I kick, scream and cry, and beat the floor with my fists. “No! No! No! I can’t cut 90,000 words down to 150. I can’t! I couldn’t! I don’t even want to try.”

    When I’m totally exhausted from crying, I hear that little voice shouting in my head, “Hey, you’re the one who wanted to sell this book. Now you gotta do the work.”

    So I crawl back to my computer and get started.

    Okay, it’s not really that dramatic (my husband would be trying to call my mama if it were) and I don’t usually acquiesce that quickly. 🙂 Finally though, after I fuss and stew, I hear that snarky voice and get to work.

    The trouble is, I can’t tell the entire story in 150 words, and I probably don’t want to. Just enough to make someone want to buy my book. Enough, but not too much.

    Easy, peasy. Right? (Uh, no.)

    Writing the blurb is even harder if you’ve finished that book and written two or three more in the mean time. But it can be done.

    I know there are probably people who can do this standing on one foot while they cook supper, feed a baby and roof the house, but I’m not one of them.

    And there are other people who can probably go to their plot outline and use sentence 1A to combine with 3D and 5 and 7 and viola! Perfect blurb. I’m not one of those, either.

    I have to get back inside my character’s head and hang out. I have to write and delete. Then I write and delete again, until struggling, I finally get something that’s not too bad. Next, I need to send it to someone else to read.

    {BTW: If you don’t have a group of writerly friends who’ll give you an honest opinion, find some. They’re worth their weight in gold!}

    I sent my blurb to the Smartest Women I know this week, and got a great suggestion from a sweet, smart young author. She asked if I could put it in my heroine’s voice. I gave it another shot, then sent it to the loop once more.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    After the change of another word or two, I had something. 🙂

    See what you think–

    When Chase Holliday’s gaze first met mine, something tingled on my end. He was hot. Dark blue eyes, a square jaw, hair that was just a little too long and this way of focusing that made me wonder if I should attack or run. And I never run.

    Together we’d make a pair anyone would sit up and notice—at least that’s what I thought. Then I learned that he planned to wipe werewolves from the face of the planet. And since I was born with an active werewolf gene, well, let’s just say our twain could never meet.

    Until a Blood Moon occurs while I’m in heat and all my hard earned control goes slamming out the window with me right behind it. That’s when I learn that, like wolves in nature, werewolves mate for life.

    I’m in deep trouble.

    Next thing was a tag line. Oh! My! Stars!!!

    If the blurb was hard, the tag line was excruciating. I had no idea how to start. (If I wrote one before, I’ve forgotten.) I did a Google search for tag lines and tried to apply what I found to my book. Here’s what I sent. (I’m waiting to see what my editor thinks.)

    She has life by the tail, a biting sense of humor and a killer sense of style. She’s a werewolf, and it’s time you knew.