My First Cover Reveal!

The title of this post is correct! I am revealing the cover for my debut novel, Never Settle. This is a contemporary romance set in New Orleans.  Sarah Hansen with Okay Creations accomplished the look I wanted and I couldn’t be happier.

I will release a blurb, sneak peeks and the release date soon.

Let me know what you think!

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Books I’m Reading #4

It’s been a few months since I’ve done one of these, so here it goes! They are different genres because I don’t like sticking to just one. These are all books I recommend and enjoyed.

Harry Potter I know, I haven’t read the Harry Potter series. I never got into it but have recently read the third book. After reading each book I watch the movie. I’m way behind the times.

Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea– One of my favorite authors! I always enjoy his work and can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

Goliath: A Kaiju Thriller by Russ Watts- I love a good monster story. This one didn’t disappoint.

The Wheel Mages by Aimee Davis– I follow Aimee’s blog, this was her debut novel and she is a very gifted writer. If you enjoy fantasy you should check out her book.

Let me know what books your reading and recommend!

My Dream Writing Space

My writing space isn’t much. The chair is uncomfortable to sit in after a while. My shoulders cramp up and I usually have to yell at the cat for jumping on the counter. There’s distractions, but I’ve accomplished a lot from sitting in that chair. I’ve written a few books, novellas and several short stories in that spot.

I hope to move houses in a few years, and it will be interesting to see what my new writing space is like. It’d be nice to have my own office, but won’t push my luck. I’m a person who tries to live within my means and don’t like buying a lot of stuff.

My writing spot may not be much now, but a lot has happened. I’ve bleed on that keyboard and written stories that bring me joy, and sometimes scare the crap out of me.

For know I’ll plug away while sitting at that counter. Maybe it’ll change, maybe it won’t but I can still think about that dream writing space.

If only I could have a small cabin in the middle of the woods. My writing space would have an awesome view and I’d have a comfy chair to recline in. This is where I’d drink coffee and write all day before retreating to bed. Ha-ha, I can dream right?

What’s your dream writing space?

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It’s not much, but gets the job done.

 

Writing Tip – Using Story Beats

Today’s post comes from author and blogger B.L. Daniels. You can check out his blog here. He has great content and advice, so I encourage you to check his page out! You can also follow him on Twitter @aggrokragg

Authors tend to fall into two categories. “Plotters” and “Pansters”. Plotters attempt to formulate and outline their entire story or novel before they sit down to write, while pantsers “fly by the seat” and see where the process takes them, for better or worse. Many writers fall somewhere in between these two extremes, or would like to have a little more structure to avoid “writing themselves into a corner” without the perceived limitations that a strict outline can impose on their creative flow. Story beats can be a great solution to this.

If you’re not familiar with story beats, they have been around for a long time, but primarily in other creative arts. “Beats” have been around for decades in scriptwriting for plays, television and movies. At their core, they are a high-level outline. They chunk out the sequence of events based on the main points or “beats” of the story. Much like music is a fluid creative art that adheres to a set of rules, the beats keep your story on track without imposing a lot of restrictions. You might also be familiar with the use of story boards when outlining the action of a film.

Since I’m a plotter, I find that detailed outlines help immensely when working on projects like a novel. My brain needs a detailed document to keep many characters, settings, and plot lines organized. However, when I’m working on something like a short story, I don’t like putting that level of detail into outlining, since I don’t feel like the piece requires it. Plus, I tend to use short stories as a way to experiment, and I sometimes wildly veer off from my original ideas (with varying success). I love using beats for short stories, since I can create a basic structure for a 5-7000-word story, and then fill in all the details as I go along putting meat on the bones.

As an example, here’s some basic beats for a simple haunted house story:

Beat 1: Teenage friends on a fun rural road trip have car trouble

Beat 2: With no mechanic, and no cell phone service, they go looking to find help.

Beat 3: They run across an old run down house and go in to see if anyone is home.

Beat 4: Something lives there, but it’s not what they expect!

If you’re a beginning (or experienced) author who has been running into issues with dead end’s or writers block, but you just cannot bring yourself to create a full outline, then beats may be exactly what you’re looking for. They provide structure to guide you, while still allowing creative freedom to experiment with a great range of ideas as your story and characters come to life on the page.

Try them out!

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Let your Characters Write the story

A book with compelling characters will force me to not put it down. It can be a story I’ve heard a thousand times, as long as the characters spike my interest, I’m hooked. Plot and setting matter but it’s the characters that bring everything alive, the rest doesn’t matter without a strong protagonist.

When writing my first book I didn’t really know my characters. It wasn’t until I wrote the second book where the stakes were raised that I felt they were growing and that I was starting to know them. Most writers will say the characters end up writing the story and I feel that’s what’s happened with mine. I find it easier to get in their mindset.

Sure, there are character charts that help with ideas, but I learn more when I write. When they’re acting in my head, that’s where they shine. It’s also how I learn their weaknesses and strengths. I like reading about someone who overcomes their boundaries and learn how they adapt.

There’s so much more I could talk about this topic with characterization and I plan to blog about those soon.

Does anyone else feel the same with their writing? Do you feel the characters write the story for you? I’d be interested to hear your opinions on this topic.

Hope everyone is having a great week! Thanks for stopping by!

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Writing Update

This week has been so damn long and I’m glad it’s the weekend. I thought I’d share some updates to my writing.  I don’t feel like there was much accomplished, but I did okay.

There were several times I stared at a blank computer screen or kept getting up to take care of something else. Maybe next week will flow differently.

  • Finished a short story called Mute.
  • Sent out two more query letters. I currently have about 5 pending. Fingers crossed!
  • Worked on a rough draft for my novella.
  • Started a new novel yesterday, it’s going to be called The Hatch. 

It’s really not that bad, but it took me a long time to accomplish these tasks. Darn day job.

On a side note, I hope everyone enjoys the weekend. Let me know what your writing update is. What projects are you working on?

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Cheers!

 

Phone Call: Short Story

“Tell me who it is?”

I’m trying to figure out the voice of the caller. He sounds agitated, it’s late and I’m home alone.  “I think you have the wrong number.” I answer.

“You’re Jessica right?” The man fires back.

“Yes,” I hedge. My body begins to tingle, how does this man know my name?

“Tell me who did it? You know who, I need their name.” Scorn drips from his tone.

This guy sounds so angry. I still have no clue what he means. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“If you don’t tell me, I’m going to come and wring the answer out of you!” He threatens.

I hang up the phone and toss it on my bed. What a weirdo. I shake off the jitters and enter the living room to heat up a cup of tea.

BANG! BANG! BANG!

My heart jumps in my throat. Nobody lives around me for miles, who the hell is knocking on my door this late?  I bolt to the bedroom to call 911, just when I reach for my phone there’s another call. It’s his number again.

Author note: This story is based off a nightmare I had. Thought I’d turn it into something useful because this dream scared the hell out of me. There may be a part 2 to this. 

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Image from Pixabay.com