Meet the Lady in Red – Interview with Galen Rose

 

Aloha! Monday is one of those days few people appreciate but yesterday, a Monday, my new book, A Place to Rest My Heart went live! I now appreciate Mondays a lot more than I used to!

Introduce yourself, please. Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name?

I write under the pen name Galen Rose. Even in this day of dwindling privacy, I felt it best to keep certain aspect of my life and my family’s life somewhat private. To be honest under my real name, I can be political, quite sarcastic and on occasion, jump up on my soap box. I thought that side of me might be a bit much for folks to take.

Let’s get the details out of the way:

Married?: I have been married for 17 years as of this June. I credit my husband with a huge amount of patience and he has been very supportive of my writing.

Children?: We have a 15 (going on 20) year old son, who is the light of my life. (even if he gives me grey hair! Ask about the two broken arms at the same time!)

Living where?: I was born in West Virginia, lived in Virginia for a few years, then off to California. I have lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains for the past ten years and I love it here among the towering redwoods.

Doing what other than writing?: I have had many jobs over the years, McDonalds, telephone solicitor, bike repairperson in the early years, an engraver for ten years, then on to run my own business selling Celtic Jewelry and gifts on the Internet and at Renaissance & Celtic Faires. I really enjoyed this business but the down turn in the economy was showing itself so I closed the business and then said, “Now what?” That’s when I started writing.

If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live? Why? I’d live in Maui. The moment I step off the plane I relax. I love the ocean and the smell of tropical flowers on the breeze, and snorkeling with sea turtles.

Why do you write romance novels?  Because unrequited love pisses me off. It really is as simple as that. I think there has to be a happily ever after.

What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part? Actually, the prologue. It was very dark and intense and all the feedback I got said it didn’t work.

The best part about my writing life is: Giving all the voices in my head a place to come out and really be heard. My imagination can be very vivid and I need an outlet for it.

The worst part about my writing life is:  Devoting enough time to the next writing project, and the one after that etc… Life has a way of really intruding and managing which ball to stop juggling is hard.

What else do you write? Right now contemporary romance, but I have outlines for a couple of paranormals.

Give us a hint about what the next book’s like. It is set in Maui. The poor heroine gets left at the alter and decides to stay in Maui to continue the ‘honeymoon’ she paid for. Insert some adventure and a hunky hero in there too.

If you want to know more about me or just want to say “Aloha”, stop by:

Website

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

 

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How Do I Love to Write? Let Me Count The Ways…

My first novel took over a year to write. When my favorite authors were putting out a couple books per year, I knew I needed to keep up if I wanted to make it in the book industry.

Being a strategy consultant for my day job, much of my work is helping companies be more efficient or effective. When it came to writing, I simply wasn’t “walking the walk,” and so it was time to take a look at my writing process. It was then I realized I’d had no process! On my first book, I started on Chapter One, and wrote—and rewrote and rewrote—each chapter by painful chapter. It was chaotic and tedious.

After thinking things through, I made some serious changes. I spent about a month plotting out my second novel using storyboards (i.e. high-level scene-by-scene descriptions) and character bios. Even though characters never behave and like to take over and change scenes from my plans, I wrote the second novel in less than six months, with much fewer rewrites. Tweaking the process with each novel, I can get a novel to my editor in under four months: one month planning the story, one month rough drafting, and one-two months rewriting and polishing.

Putting some rigor into my writing process has allowed me to write over twice as fast, and I find writing more enjoyable (less “spinning my wheels”). I wrote Collision, a full-length novel coming out tomorrow(!), in four months. Being the first book in a trilogy, the first month of planning the series and characters was crucial and well worth every minute. Now, as I work on the next two books in the Colliding Worlds trilogy, I’m confident about the plot and excited to write!

For the writers out there, what’s your process? Has it evolved as your writing experience grows? Let’s swap best practices!

Enjoy writing!

Berinn Rae

www.BerinnRae.com

Collision (book 1 in the Colliding Worlds trilogy)

July 30, 2012

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

COLLISION, Book 1 in the Colliding Worlds Trilogy by Berinn Rae

Sienna Wolfe knows it’s going to be an interesting day when a man with golden skin and strange tattoos crashes in her backyard… and ends up tied to her bedposts. She likes her life just the way it is – simple, easy, relaxed. But when the gorgeous new alien in her life asks for her help in an inter-galactic war on a scollision course with earth, she can’t say no… but she’ll soon wish she had.

The U.S. military has figured out they have uninvited company, and they’re not happy. Sienna knows it won’t be easy protecting earth from an alien invasion, but she refuses to back down. Now it’s up to Sienna to pull off the impossible: save the world and – hopefully – live a little happily ever after.

Behind the scenes: What it takes to get your novel out

Okay, so you’ve written the great American romance novel. You’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed those t’s. Now, you sit back and expect the accolades to begin pouring in. Your are done. Right?

Wrong, ever so wrong. Your hard work in a sense has just begun. Yes, I know you’ve tweaked, you’ve replaced often used words, created multiple drafts of your manuscript, you gut tells you that this work is as perfect as you can make it. The hint is you. The next hands that receive your brain child are the professionals. Editors will search your manuscript for punctuation, content errors, and timeline gaffs.

There isn’t a writer alive that doesn’t both fear and loath the coming of edits. Your first time around seeing those bloody red marks and comments hurt. But you adjust those rose colored glasses and slip on your big girl panties and begin. Some times you wonder, oh my word, how could I have missed this. Or, crap, they must think I’m stupid. But remember, the writer is so close to his or her material we gloss over the words because our minds eye knows what should be there. On average, this process repeats at least three times. This is tedious hard work and the editors earn every penny of their salary if not more. 

Remember too, that your work is in line with all the other accepted submissions. Your editor is not yours exclusively. It takes time on average, depending on your editors back load,six to upward to twelve weeks. What do you do as a writer during this down time? Fill out the barrage of paper work that goes with the novel, your art cover sheets, your blurb and one line tag. If those get done, begin that second novel. And for me this is the hardest, to let go before the final copy is done and begin that second project while the guru’s of print work their magic. 

After those content edits, you’ll go through the process of line edits where another editor checks for mistakes, then when the manuscript is transferred to the formatting for e-book or print, you’ll undergo another round of edits to makes sure its copied correctly, nothing left out. You’ll get your cover art back and a galley so you can see how the finished project appears and one last glance over before release. 

So how long does this all take? From your acceptance to publication, depending on the publisher, it can last from 3 months to a year. Yes, when you hear authors describe it as giving birth, its quite true. So when people think you can just whip those stories out, smile and nod. All the while you’ll know that its a process and the words over night success means it happens in a blur of time.  So to the editors, the art department, the agents that put up with my whine, this blog thanks you. To the reader, when you pick up that book know that its a team effort, its the best of our ability, and we are crossing our fingers that you like it. 

Next month, I’ll present my baby to the world, Eight Seconds To Glory. So, here’s a quick tease until we meet again.

Two souls in need of a dream. Two hearts that need mending.

Glory Beebe’s dream is at hand when she meets undeniably attractive world champion bull rider, Travis Hargrove. Once bitten and twice shy, Glory can’t afford to give her heart to a rodeo man that will leave her for the thrill of the ride like Jax Martin did. When her foreman offers her ranch as a refuse for Hargrove to regain his strength and work as a stock contractor, she must ignore the pull of her heart and do her best to complete her father’s dream.

Haunted by being trampled by a bull in competition, Travis Hargrove will do anything to earn another swipe at the gold buckle. There are younger cowboys, ones without physical limitations, eager to take his place. When the rodeo manager offers him a chance to prove himself, Travis has to put his fear behind him.  Riding on the back of two thousand pounds of dynamite is hard enough when you’re healthy. Will a pair of blue eyes and a woman with spunk change his mind?

Can Travis not only regain his courage and win Glory’s heart in the process or will the roar of the crowd to much to give up when there are only Eight Seconds to Glory?

 

See you next month, 

Tessa

Living and Dying by Reviews

I love online review sites. I discovered most of my favorite restaurants on Yelp, I rarely see a movie I haven’t checked out first on Rotten Tomatoes, and I plan all my vacations using Trip Advisor.

I tend to take bad reviews with a grain of salt, because it’s easier (and more fun) to vent about a bad experience than thoughtfully praise a good one. I also have a theory that most of those snarky, caustic reviews are written by frustrated writers who want to feel the rush of publication.

Personally, I mostly write good reviews. It seems like a waste of everyone’s time to post negative or “meh” reviews. My only exception is when I feel obligated to warn people about a particularly shady place — like that nail salon in I stumbled into in Jackson, Wyoming with the filthy files and nail tech who I’m 99% sure was detoxing from drugs in the middle of my manicure.)

I’ve never posted a negative review of a book in my entire life. Not even for books I can’t stand, but everyone else seems to adore. (I’m talking to you, “Eat, Pray, Love.”) Reading a book is in intimate experience, and reviewing one is completely subjective.

And then there’s the question of how to review the books of authors with whom you are acquainted. Some people say you can find something positive to say about any book, and it’s important to support other writers with positive reviews. Others say it’s best to say nothing at all than give a clearly forced, mediocre review.

But with so many new authors being published in e-book format with little or no support from their publishers, new authors feel an enormous pressure to rack up reviews. Authors obsess over getting to a magic number of they think will trigger Amazon to promote the book. (The rumor mill says that number is 20, though more likely it is the number of sales triggering the recommendation, with X number of sales usually corresponding to about 20 reviews.  But when an author has an above-average amount of reviewers compared with sales, 20 reviews doesn’t represent X number of sales, and the whole thing goes out the window.)

For me, the biggest challenge regarding reviews is how to take them in — both the bad and the good.

I haven’t gotten any nasty reviews yet, but I fully expect they will come. Snarky reviews are especially en vogue right now, and sites like Goodreads have become a place where reviewers can find a little bit of fame by writing an especially “clever” caustic review. (See my earlier suggestion that negative reviewers are often themselves frustrated writers.)

And then there are the whackadoos, who receive a book as a gift, and instead of saying, “Oh, well. This one wasn’t my taste,” feel compelled to warn others away. One of my fellow Crimson authors, whose book was sailing along on a sea of praise, was recently smacked with just that kind of unnecessarily harsh review. Not a constructive analysis of the book, not a recommendation as to who should avoid it, just a “this book sucks” rant.

The other Crimson writers and I consoled our friend and told her the reviewer was obviously nuts. I even suggested that the only possible explanation was that the reviewer was someone she went to high school with who’d always been jealous of her.

Writers face so much rejection on the path to getting published, that once our work is out there, it seems especially shitty to have it torn apart by strangers. And so we circle the wagons and tell each other it doesn’t matter what some crazy lady in Idaho thinks.

And it doesn’t.

Unless some crazy lady in Idaho thinks your book is fabulous. Then, it matters. Then, it becomes the reason you write.

I sometimes struggle more with the idea of good reviews than bad ones. Like most writers, I delight in them. How much of that is ego and how much of it is something more noble, a true artistic yearning to move a stranger with my words?

I studied Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements in my twenties, and like with so many other spiritual books, the lessons have long slipped through my memory — except Agreement Number 2, Don’t Take Anything Personally. The idea is that what you say and do to me is not about me; it’s about you. You are motivated by your own flaws and needs, so when you are critical, it’s a reflection of you, not me.

I take comfort in this when people treat me badly. I especially lean on it in ongoing difficult relationships.

But the flip side, as Ruiz points out, is that the same is true for flattery. When you fawn over me, it still a reflection of you.

I know this intellectually, and yet I still crave praise. Is that so wrong?

Perhaps it’s all part of the yin-and-yang of being a writer. We spill our soul on paper, then have it torn apart, critiqued, edited, rejected, and hopefully, finally published. After all that, don’t we deserve to revel in a little love?

ImageLisa Weseman‘s romantic comedy The Name of the Game was released July 23 by Crimson Romance. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and adorable Doodles. Follow her at www.Facebook.com/LisaWesemanWriter.

Make Your Dialogue Work For You

Proper dialogue will bring your characters to life, but poorly executed dialogue can kill your characters, and no amount of clever exposition or narrative can revive them.

Because dialogue in a manuscript is easy to spot, a potential reader can quickly skim your story and judge your writing skills. Don’t disappoint him. Make your dialogue work for you. Here are some pointers.

1. Use incomplete sentences. When we speak, we often use clipped sentences. Listen to other conversations and you will see what I mean.

2. Eliminate chit chat. Check out this piece of dialogue.

“Hi, Jane. It’s good to see you. How are you?”

“Good thanks. You?”

“Oh, can’t complain.”

“Anything new in your Life?”

“No, just the usual.”

Blah, blah, blah. Yes, we often speak like that, but it will make a potential reader slam your book shut and put it back on the shelf. Chit chat words are empty words and they take up valuable space and time.  Good dialogue is purposeful. It reveals character and helps move the story forward

3. Long dialogue speeches usually don’t work. Unless the speaker is giving a lecture, it is nearly impossible for the second party of the conversation not to cut in and add his own opinion.

4. Even when there is not conflict in the dialogue, you can add tension and interest by how each person responds. Compare the two following passages:

“Did you hand in your assignment?” Mr. Ericson asked.

“Yes, I put it on your desk this morning,” Mark answered.

“Oh right, I remember now. I hope you edited it,” he said.

“Yup, I always do” Mark said.

“Good then,” Ericson continued marking papers, while Mark waited. “Was there something else?” Ericson asked.

“Yes, I was wondering why you gave me such a poor mark on my last essay.”

*

“Did you hand in your assignment?” Mr. Ericson asked.

“I put it on your desk this morning,” Mark answered.

“Edited well?”

“Like always.”

Erickson continued marking papers, while Mark waited. “Was there something else?”

“Why did you give me such a poor mark on my last essay?”

The second piece is more interesting because:

a. some of the cooperative words (“Yes”, “Oh, right” and “Good then”) were eliminated.

b. a question was answered by asking another question.

c. some dialogue tags were removed.

Did you also feel a wee bit more tension or conflict in the second passage? Conflict keeps the reader reading. It doesn’t have to be an out-and-out fight. It can be very subtle.

5. Dialogue tags (he demanded, she murmured, he pleaded, etc.) can often be eliminated. Tags should only be used when it is unclear who is speaking. There are ways to get around using tags.

a. Use an action to show which character is speaking, but be sure the action suits the dialogue. If a character throws a pot across the room, he isn’t likely to say, “I love you.”

b. If there are only two people talking, just by starting a new paragraph, the reader will know there is a new speaker.

c.  A character’s style of speech will reveal who is talking. “Aye, he was a mighty fine lad.”

6.The best dialogue tag to use is “said.” It disappears on the page, unless the page is peppered with it. That would be a no-no.

7. A character cannot laugh dialogue.

“And then he fell off his chair,” he laughed. “I knew he was drunk.”

This needs to be changed. How’s this? “And then he fell off his chair,” he said, laughing. “I knew he was drunk”

Or: “And then he fell off his chair.” He laughed. “I knew he was drunk.”

8. If you want a character to hiss something, you’d better have some “ss” sounds in the sentence. It’s pretty hard to hiss this comment, “That man killed my uncle.”

9. Don’t overuse proper names in dialogue.  Here’s an example of name overuse.

“Tell me, Jim, what were you thinking?”

“To tell the truth, Bill, I wasn’t. I just reacted.”

“Then may I suggest the next time you get yourself into such a predicament, Jim, think first.”

“Bill, you’ve got my word on it.”

This might be a good time to do a little name dropping. Really, as in drop the names from this dialogue!

If you read this far, thank you. Employ a few of these techniques and you will soon be a dialogue dynamo!

The “I’m Not Going to California for Nat’ls” Blog

Bitter?  No.  Sad, depressed, grumpy I’m at work?  Probably.  Face it, RWA Nat’ls ROCK. When you walk in the door, they give you a bag with books.

(That’s me right after I got my books last year and my friend, the most awesome Laura Bradford, who just released a new Amish cozy mystery series – Hearse and Buggy)

In my opinion, that ranks right up with a restaurant that gives you a loaf of hot bread right out of the oven the moment you walk in the door.  Those kind of places get me.

And that’s how I felt at the conference.  I was with 2000 people who understood me when I said, “The voices said…” Or “I was going to kill him off after the dinner, but it felt too staged.”  Try having that conversation at the family reunion.  You’ll have cousin Ed ducking under the table.

 

Getting ready for the trip is an event all on its own.  I plan out all my workshops, my agent/editor pitches, and my book signings (where I get MORE free books.) Last year, I had a highlighted daily schedule with clothing options for each day all planned.

So, what’s a girl to do when heaven is just outside her financial reach?  I’m going to spend my evening finishing my project.  While the rest of you are partying, riding the teacups at Disney, and networking, I’ll be polishing my words.

I’m also going to finally finish my Plot and Structure workbook (James Scott Bell).  Just me and Mr. Bell, a private study session. (At least in this writer’s mind.)

And since my husband is planning a fishing trip, I’m adding in some research stops for my weekend, including traipsing through two cemeteries where more Union and Confederate soldiers are buried in close proximity than any other place in the United States.  Along with some famous beer barons.

Finally, I’m buying me a nice bottle of wine and watching as many romantic comedies as I can muster.

So, you going to Nationals? If not, what are your plans for the week?

Anyone want to watch Sleepless in Seattle with me?

Meet the Ladies in Red – Lisa White

 

Hello Friends!  This day is huge for me because THE LAWS OF LOVE released today!!!  As my fellow Crimson Romance Authors have done in the past, I am introducing myself on our group blog by answering the standard questions posed to all our authors.  It may sound fun to most, but this shy girl from Virginia does not like to talk about herself so the task is a little daunting – but here goes:

1. Introduce yourself, please (name you write under). Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name?  I write under my real name – Lisa White.  I used my real name for two reasons.  First, it is easier to market to friends and family with my real name.  They don’t have to remember anything special and can look me up and, hopefully, buy the book without doing too much research.  And since I have a very, very big family spread all over the country, they will help boost sales!  Second, for me it was important to use my real name to keep my writing true to me personally.  When writing a scene or developing a character, I have to ask myself: Would I want my name associated with this scene/character?  Is it good enough or would it embarrass me to have my name associated with it?  My grandfather Crockett always told me that all we really have in life is our good name.  By using my real name, I am making sure I am only giving my readers the best I have.

2. Let’s get the details out-of-the-way:

Single, married, divorced, widowed? Married to a wonderful man who makes me laugh every day.

Parent? We are blessed with two children who totally understand when mommy hides with her computer to “play with her characters”.

Living where? Southwest Virginia

Doing what, other than writing? Lawyer

One—just one—physical characteristic: Eyes?

3. What’s your secret passion? I would say writing but I guess the cat is out of the bag now!

4. Tell us one thing about yourself you’d never change. This is a tough one because I cannot think of anything.  I believe everything happens for a reason and God has a plan for each of us.  If I were to change something, I would not be the same person I am now – and I am pretty happy most of the time.  Optimism is a powerful tool.

5. If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live? Why? Another tough one.  Southwest Virginia is beautiful – mountains, rivers, lakes – and the people are fantastic.  I like to travel and experience new things, but coming home is always the best part of an adventure.

6. Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live? I write about where I live.  For me, small towns have the best stories and characters.  My hope is that readers can relate to at least one of my characters – or at least see a similarity to someone they know from their own hometown.

7. What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class? Writing poetry in elementary school.  One Christmas I even wrote a book of poems for my grandparents – do you know how many words rhyme with “cat”?

8. Why do you write romance novels? Because I love happy endings.  When I first joined Romance Writers of America, I remember being told that, in order to be classified as a romance, my novel had to have an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending”.  For me, with all the heartache in the world, why would I want to write anything else?  I want readers to escape with my writing – to get away from everything going on around them – even if just for ten minutes or one page at a time.

9. What else do you write? So far, just poetry and romance – but I love a good suspense so if I can come up with a good storyline, I might try that.  But of course, the suspense must have a happy ending!

10. What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience? In THE LAWS OF LOVE, the protagonist, Livi Miller is a corporate attorney who has a hard time balancing her love life with her career.  I can totally relate to that aspect of Livi’s life.  Being single and trying to have a career was not easy.  Maybe that is why I did not get married until I was thirty-four years old.

11. What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part? I had what I thought was a great line: “She excelled professionally thanks to this work ethic but her personal life became collateral damage”.  I loved the “collateral damage” phrase – but my editor thought the idea had already been established and the line was unnecessary.  She was exactly right – but I still hated cutting it.

12. Do you identify closely with one particular character? How? See answer to 10 above.  This idea has already been established so this question is unnecessary (see Jennifer, I did learn something!).

13. The best part about my writing life is: Taking the stories in my head and heart and putting them to paper (or computer screen as the case may be).  I just finished my second novel, have started my third and have outlines for three more.  I can’t wait to flesh out all the scenes and see where the characters take me.

14. The worst part about my writing life is:  Not enough time to write.  My writing time typically starts after 9:00 p.m when everyone else’s day is ending.  But sitting at my computer is one of the best parts of my day.

Okay – so I answered all the questions.  But if you want to know more, or simply just want to say “Hi”, you can find me on the web as noted below.  Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy THE LAWS OF LOVE.

Best Wishes, Lisa White

www.lisawhiteauthor.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/lisawhite