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Posts Tagged ‘ruth ann nordin’

first-day-first-paragraph-tag

Thanks to Ruth Ann Nordin for tagging me for First Day, First Paragraph.

Here are the rules:Publish your own post on the first day of the month.

  1. Use the graphic above.
  2. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  3. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  4. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  5. Ask your readers for feedback.
  6. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of January, the person you tag has to do it on the first of February), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

For my first paragraph, I chose a short story that’s free to download. I chose this instead of one of my novels or novellas because this one has always been near and dear to my heart. I love the Beauty and the Beast type stories, and this one has a special twist.

The Beast in the Mirror

Here’s the paragraph:

From the shadows he watched her. She was exquisite…perfect. He knew he would only be able to watch her from afar. She was beautiful, and he was a beast. So he would watch her, admire her, but he would never speak to her or even let himself be seen by her. Her delicate senses didn’t deserve to look upon such ugliness as his.

What do y’all think?

So, I’m going to tag L. S. Engler for March 1!

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I often list other goals besides writing goals on these ROW80 posts. This round, I’m going to focus on my writing goals. I might share some of my other successes from time to time, including weight loss, but my STATED goals are going to be writing related. I’ve been too lax on writing, which caused me not to publish anything but a short story for an anthology in 2013. If it’s in my power, I will publish this year. So….

1) Work on edits for Hearts of Evil based on beta readers’ suggestions. I have two beta readers who are VERY good editors AND proofreaders. I’ve heard you should never mix those and that you should have different people for these three jobs. However, this is working for me. Two of my beta readers are authors. One is an editor in her day job. The other is a well-known “seasoned” author. They kick my butt (in a kind way), so it works. My other two beta readers are, well, readers. One has the unedited version. The other will get the edited version. This last one catches typos that others sometimes don’t. Which is odd since she’s 79 years old and doesn’t see well. LOL

2) Work on plotting Fire Wizard starting today. I have a lot of questions already answered based on Susan Bischoff’s Story Toolkit. She’s a little more detailed than I want to be, but I use what works for me. I now just need to write out what will happen in every chapter.

3) Write 5,000 words per week. I’m not going to specify which days I’ll write like I did last time, I just need to make that 5,000 word goal.

4) Publish Fire Wizard by June 30, 2014. I downloaded a simple publishing worksheet set up by Ruth Ann Nordin. I’ve already filled it in with my projected timeline for this book, including word count goals and first draft. The 5,000 word per week goal won’t necessarily be all about First Wizard, although some weeks it might be. I have another project that I abandoned a while back that I might take back up. More on that later.

I hope your eyes haven’t glazed over yet. I tend to skim when people write blog posts that are really long (unless it’s really exciting!), and I try not to go overboard, but these are my goals, and I needed to talk about them. Now I’m going to pop over to some of the rest of my ROW80er’s blogs and see what they are doing this round. You know, in between doing what I’m supposed to be doing here at work. 🙂

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I used to think I could edit and proofread my books all by myself. Really, I did. After all, I catch errors in other writers’ books all the time. But here’s the thing…you KNOW what you’re trying to say, so if you say it wrong or misspell a word, your mind sees what you MEANT to say or type. Our minds play tricks like that. You should always be the first editor/proofreader of your book and you should be the last. But in the middle, you should have other people looking at your manuscript.

So, what if you can’t afford an editor? Barter for services if you can! This advice actually comes from my friend, Ruth Ann Nordin, a very prolific author. And that’s what I do. I have some very good beta readers who are also great editors and proofreaders. One actually does that in her full time job. I do the same for them, and it’s worked very well for us. And it’s funny how one might catch totally different things than another. In the last book I had them read, there was only one thing that two of them suggested changing, and both of them had a different way of changing it. That’s when you, as an author, have to make the decision. Should you do it your original way, or pick one of the ways the editors suggested? Remember, I said you should be the first and last editor. Ultimately, it’s your book, and you’re going to be responsible for the content.

There are at LEAST four people who look at my books. Two of them are authors (they write in totally different genres), one is an avid reader, and the last one is my mom. Yes, my mom. I have several different people take a look. Now, I know people say not to use relatives or friends because they won’t tell you the truth. Well, my mom will definitely tell me the truth. And the funny thing is, she’s almost 79 years old, and yet she caught an error a professional editor didn’t catch. That’s the beauty of having multiple people look at your books.

I can honestly say that, lately, I’m finding as many or more errors in traditionally published books than in indie published books. The book I’m currently reading is published by a small publisher, so I don’t know what kind of editors they have, but I’m finding multiple errors in the book.

I had a reader call me the other day (we have a professional relationship in my full time job, and she starting reading my books) and I was so happy when she told me she was impressed because she had found no errors in Soul of a Vampire. She told me she had just read a traditionally published, popular book and found several. She was full of praise for how well my book was edited. That made me all kinds of happy. 🙂

So, tell me, do errors pull you out of the story? Does it depend on how many errors there are? I would love to hear from both fellow authors AND readers who don’t write and see if there’s a difference of opinion.

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These are the books I read while on vacation. I had already started a couple of them before I got to Florida.

Kiera’s Moon – Lizzy Ford
Crossing – Stacey Wallace Benefield
Her Reluctant Groom – Rose Gordon
His Jilted Bride – Rose Gordon
Suddenly a Bride – Ruth Ann Nordin
Runaway Bride – Ruth Ann Nordin

I found all of these enjoyable. The romances by Rose Gordon and Ruth Ann Nordin were sweet and sexy. Crossing was very different, deep, sad, and touching. With a little fun thrown in, because Stacey can’t help it. I was very pleased with the first book I had ever read by Lizzy Ford. Kiera’s Moon was a great SciFi romance.

It was so nice to be able to just read. I’ve read so much romance this week that I finally had to pick something else. At the moment, I’m reading Draculas – Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Konrath), Blake Crouch, F. Paul Wilson, Jeff Strand. This book is NOT for the faint of heart. I might have nightmares. *shudders*

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So here I was planning to write about what I’ve been reading, and I saw this post by my friend, Emma. LOL. Great minds and all that.

Anyway…

I’ve been listening to Micro by Michael Crichton on audiobook through my iPhone (and car speakers). Well, he didn’t get to finish it because he died before it was done. I apologize to the author who did finish it, because I can’t remember his name right now. This book made me really mad a couple of times. I won’t tell you why because it’s a spoiler, but I wanted to scream. I did sort of yell at my iPhone that was playing the story. This book is about a company who can shrink things and people down to about 1/2 inch. Some things even smaller. We get to see the micro-world in a rain forest, and that was really cool. I didn’t check facts every time I wondered if something was real or made up, but if some of the stuff was real, Crichton did a LOT of research for this book. He always has, though, for his books. I’ve liked just about everything Michael Crichton has written. He is the most eclectic author I’ve ever read. I hate that we’ll never have anything else by him to read. 😦

On my Kindle, I’ve been reading Death is a Gift by Claire Farrell. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book. It’s so full of awesome. In the first 25% of the book, I was already bawling my eyes out. But it was something that kind of had to happen. (No, I’m not telling.) I fell in love with the main character, Cliona, who is a banshee. I felt every emotion she felt as I was reading this book. She had to make some hard decisions, and through this whole book, I couldn’t figure out if it was going to have a happy ending or not. (Again, not gonna tell!) This was a stand alone book. Even though I love Claire’s series, this is by far my favorite book by her. I didn’t want it to end.

On my iPhone, I’m reading The Green-Eyed Doll by Jerrie Alexander. This is the first book I’ve read by this author. In fact, I think it’s her only release, but she’s got some other stuff coming out soon. Anyway, this has been slow reading because I don’t get to read on my iPhone very much. Just little bits here and there when I get a chance. I’m enjoying the book. It’s about a sheriff, Matt, and a woman, Catherine, with a past she doesn’t want anyone to know about it, especially the sheriff, whom she’s falling for. Oh, and there’s a serial killer. I think he’s going to take Catherine soon. This one is a murder mystery/romance. I’m pretty sure there’ll be a HEA.

On my iPad, I’m reading Her Reluctant Groom by Rose Gordon. I put this one on hold just a little while because I was reading on my iPad while walking on the treadmill, and I’ve not gotten back to exercising yet. I also read it a little bit while hubby was in ICU. I need to get back to that book, because I was really enjoying it. I love a scarred hero. And the heroine has some issues of her own. Rose always makes me smile because her books are a little different from other historical romances I’ve read. There’s always a bit of humor in them, which I really enjoy. I listened to His Contract Bride recently, and that book was just a lot of fun. I’m taking some of Rose’s books to the beach with me, along with Ruth Ann Nordin’s. Romances are great beach reads.

I hope to do these posts every once in awhile. Since I’ve about decided not to review much at the retailers, I thought I would just do some of it here.

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I’m stealing Anya’s hot spot on her phone for a few minutes. I just wanted to give a quick update.

When we arrived at this cabin, I was completely in love! This place is absolutely amazing and beautiful. I’ll have pictures later. Maybe more pictures than anyone wants to see. LOL. I went around with my iPad snapping pictures like a crazy person.

Anya is sleeping downstairs in the master bedroom, and I’m upstairs. There’s also a loft bedroom. We each have our own bathroom. I haven’t seen any scorpions, but there is a roach the size of Texas that apparently thinks my bathroom is his own personal domain. He’s scared of me, though. When I come in the bathroom, he scurries behind a little container that holds towels, a candle, etc. Once, he peeked out from behind it, and when he saw me, he scurried back behind it. I did sleep with my light on last night since roaches like darkness. LOL.

I’ve been working on getting Vampires’ Curse ready for print. The page numbers, as usual, have been kicking my butt, but I’m using some pointers from Ruth Ann Nordin, and I think I might have figured out how to make it work. I ALWAYS struggle with the page numbers. That’s the only problem I have with formatting for print.

So I’m going to get back to work now. Later, Anya and I might go outside on the huge porch and sit in the rocking chairs and work. Or not. We can do whatever we want. 🙂

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I’ve been hearing a lot about how important a good cover is. And I agree. It’s very, very important. Many readers won’t even take a look at a book’s description if the cover isn’t appealing to the eye. But I’ve found that the cover isn’t what catches my eye first. It isn’t the most important thing in deciding whether or not to check out the book. For me, it’s the title. I don’t know why that takes precedence over the cover, but for me it does. I’ve been looking at a lot of free books lately because I get emails offering them to me. And I’ve found that even if they’re free, I pass them over if I’m not interested in the title.

So what makes a good title? For me, it has to be intriguing. It has to let me know just a tad about what I might find in the book. Or if it doesn’t, it should make me WONDER what’s in the book. For mystery titles, sometimes the name of the place sparks my interest. Many mystery books use the location as part of the title. If the name of the place sounds spooky, it’s going to catch my eye every time. Ruth Ann Nordin, a best-selling romance writer, just released a regency romance called “Her Counterfeit Husband”. Now that title draws me in. Why is her husband “counterfeit”? I want to know why. Susan Bischoff’s “Heroes Til Curfew” interests me. What about these people makes them heroes? And why is there a curfew? They must be young. Kait Nolan’s “Red” makes me want to take a second look because the title has one word, and I want to know what it means. This is what I’m talking about. The title makes you wonder. I won’t mention any titles that I think are terrible for the same reason I don’t do bad reviews. But I’ve seen some bad ones. And I’ve seen some very, very good ones.

This happens to be a real problem for me as a writer. Why? Because I’m terrible at thinking up titles for my books. I’ve actually had some help with some of my titles. I was very, very lucky with Soul of a Vampire. I thought of the title and the basic story at the same time. It just popped in my head. And I think it’s a good title. The word “vampire” still gets the attention of readers because the vampire craze isn’t quite over yet. Although, it’s never really completely over, because vampire stories have been around forever. And the word “soul” is intriguing to me. It would make me wonder what’s up with this vampire’s soul. Oh how I wish all book titles were this easy for me. I know I’m going to have a real challenge with that when I write the story my husband thought up. It’s kind of a complicated story, but I think it’s going to be a good one if I can write it properly. And if I can think of a good title! I might make him do the title. LOL

What about you? Is a title important to you? Or will the book cover draw you in enough to check out the blurb?

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