Thursday, November 29, 2012

National Novel Writing Month - WINNER

One more day left people. Get those fingers pumping!

I managed to cross the finish line this morning, ending with 50,534. I have something resembling a novel, a little out of sorts, but definitely workable. November was tough and stressful, but now it's time for the rough stuff - making the words publishable.

I'd like to congratulate all of you who participated in National Novel Writing Month this year. Remember, there really are no winners or losers. We signed up, we gave it our all, and we gathered words together to create wonderful stories.

True, your story may be a little dysfunctional, out of order, or even a mess which seems beyond repair. True, you may be flustered, tired, and ready to burn the computer, the paper, the desk!

Take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I arrived, I wrote, I created, I won."

For an hour a day, two hours a day, or even fifteen minutes a day, you squashed the negative demon and wrote from the heart. Now, you know you can do it. No more excuses. Create, enjoy, be happy and positive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Voices of Fiction - Time to write a book - Part Three

Welcome to Voices of Fiction.

We continue with our discussion of how long it takes to write a book.

Please welcome our guests.

Terry W. Ervin II is an English and Science teacher who enjoys writing. Gryphonwood Press published the first two novels in his First Civilization’s Legacy Series (FLANK HAWK and BLOOD SWORD) and he is busy writing the third novel in the fantasy series. In November 2012 Gryphonwood Press is slated to release Terry’s first short story collection, GENRE SHOTGUN. - Website, Blog

Vicki Batman likes to kick back with a diet Coke and write crazy things for her characters. She has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??" - Website, Blog, Amazon

Children’s Picture Book author, Clara Bowman-Jahn, of “Annie’s Special Day” is living the life of her dreams an hour at a time. - Website, Etreasures

Karenna Colcroft is the alter ego of a shy, sedate wife and mother. She has been writing since age five, and dove into erotic romance in 2006. Her first book was published in 2009, and since then she has had over thirty stories published. She lives in the northeastern US with her two children and her real-life romance hero husband. - Website, Facebook, Twitter

Nicole Zoltack loves to write whatever strikes her fancy. When she’s not writing about knights, talking unicorns, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her wonderful family. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. Blog, Website, Amazon

Welcome Authors!

Question: How long does it take you to write a book?

Terry W. Ervin II: From the moment I begin jotting outline notes and typing the first chapter, until the moment I save the final version and it’s submitted, about 18 months. Often ideas have been floating about in my head and jotted down a year or so previous to the actual writing process, so technically it could be 30 listed as months.

Vicki Batman: A book takes me a whole year. I can do several stories in one year. I'm less frustrated.

Clara Bowman-Jahn: My book, "Annie's Special Day" took approximately two years to write from idea to finished product. My second picture book took about the same time and it looks like my third will take that same amount of time. But my second genre of memoir is coming along nicely and I work on that intermittently as well. Maybe if I sat my butt down in chair every day it would be done by now.

Karenna Colcroft: It depends whether I'm aiming for a novella or a novel. I've been known to finish the first draft of a novella in a week or less, and it takes me about 2-3 days to revise to publication standards. For a full-length novel, it takes me about 3-6 weeks for the first draft, depending on how well I've plotted it and how many blocks I run into, and about a week to revise.

Nicole Zoltack: That depends on the book. One story I’ve been tinkering with for over a decade! The shortest amount of time for me to write a rough draft has been a month (I’ve done that twice). Usually it takes me about six, though. 

Thank you all for joining us today.

Readers feel free to ask questions concerning this topic in the comments. Also feel free to send questions to Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.

There’s also room for more authors to participate. Drop me an email, Subject: Voices of Fiction.

(Disclaimer - Bios and photos submitted by authors.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Voices of Fiction - Time to write a book - Part Two

Welcome to Voices of Fiction.

We continue with our discussion of how long it takes to write a book.

Please welcome our guests.

Karen Cioffi is a multi-award-winning author, freelance/ghostwriter, editor, and online marketer, as well as the founder and manager of Writers on the Move. - Website, Website, Website

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, a collection of YA mystery books that show what happens when dark family secrets are exposed. Jade also provides professional writing tips to other indie authors on her blog. - Twitter, Blog, Amazon

Thea Landen writes erotic literature, frequently in a sci-fi/fantasy setting. When she's not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games. Blog, Amazon, AllRomanceBooks

Author and editor, Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, six e books, a chapbook, one MG novel, a short story collection, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. She edits for two small traditional publishers. Website, Blog, MuseItUp 

Liz Crowe’s groundbreaking romance sub-genre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”) Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury. - WebsiteBlog, Facebook

Welcome Authors!

Question: How long does it take you to write a book?

Karen Cioffi: This depends on what I’m writing. It took me around two years to write my middle grade fantasy, Walking Through Walls. Picture books seem to take me much less time, maybe a couple of months. My nonfiction writing and marketing books can take a couple of weeks to a month.

Jade Varden: Writing time all depends on the book. Even a short book may require a ton of research, and that’s time-consuming. The longest I ever spent working one just one book was two years; it involved a lot of research, and the book was quite long.

Thea Landen: Depends on the length of the book! My first book was around 32K words, and it took me about a month to write. Since then, I've been writing longer novels, and they usually take me at least a couple of months. (I've also added going back to school to this equation, and that adds to the time!)

Penny Ehrenkranz: I prefer writing short stories to actual books. These tend to take a week or less depending upon how much editing I need to do. The middle grade novels I’ve written, however, did take considerably longer. At the time these were written, I was also working outside the home and only able to write in my “spare” time. Working within those restrictions, it took over six months to complete the first draft and probably a year before I was able to submit a finished manuscript. 

Liz Crowe: Depends on how busy I am with my brewery frankly. I wrote a 100,000 word novel (Essence of Time) in 2 weeks but wrote nearly around the clock. I tend to "marathon" when I get an idea and keep working/writing until the project is complete. The busier I get the harder that is, of course.

Thank you all for joining us today.

Readers feel free to ask questions concerning this topic in the comments. Also feel free to send questions to Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.

There’s also room for more authors to participate. Drop me an email, Subject: Voices of Fiction.

(Disclaimer - Bios and photos submitted by authors.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

National Novel Writing Month - Progress Report

Meter available at writertopia

We passed the half-way point a few days back. As we close in on the end of Day 18 of National Novel Writing Month, I ask you, "Are your characters misbehaving?"

Mine sure are! I had a plan, a nice little plan. And then, these people came in here and tossed my papers around. How dare they after all the work I've put into a PLAN?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'll be the first to tell you, there is no PLAN when it comes to writing. At least not in a half-pantzer's world.

I'm really not complaining, really. The story is becoming more in-depth with each new discover. I see a lot of work after the completion of 50000. But, if this was easy everyone would be doing it, right?

Hope all of you are making progress and your characters aren't misbehaving too badly.

Best of luck as we head toward the finish line.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Character Interview - Tomas Medina - Desperate Measures

Cindy Cromer is a scientist with degrees in Chemistry and president of a laboratory network. She has written numerous laboratory procedures and research documents. In her new endeavor, writing mystery novels, she utilizes some of her career experience into her plots, but doesn’t overwhelm the reader with scientific jargon. She has recently been selected as one of the "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading."

Congratulations, Cindy, on your recent accomplishment of being selected as one of the 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading!

Cindy Cromer shared time with us in April of 2011, allowing us a little insight into who this new author was in a two part interview.  Part One - Part Two

In May 2011, Desperate Measures, her first novel, released.

In October 2012, we spoke with Jack Spencer.

Today, I am happy to present to you an interview with another character from Desperate Measures. Enjoy the show!

Television Host: Thank you audience for tuning in. We have another special guest, right out of the pages of Desperate Measures, FBI Senior Special Agent, Tomas Medina. He’s here tonight brought to life from the ink and paper that the author, Cindy Cromer, created him from. Tomas was thrust into the mystery and hidden family secrets of Caitlin Spencer Martel’s family. When she received a threat, Tomas was first called to St. Kitts unofficially by his boss, Scott Martel, Caitlin’s husband, after Caitlin received the first threat. When he arrives his duties are minimal and he agrees to babysit the Martel’s children while they finalize details with the local police. Tomas’s status is upgraded when the third threat against Caitlin is delivered. Tomas plays a pivotal role in the drama when he uncovers some clues in Scott’s FBI mandatory background check. He keeps his findings to himself until he can gather more information. Tomas is a unique character in the book as he has some comedy scenes but is also embroiled in some very serious parts of the plot. My other guests from this book became riled up and defensive during the interview. I’m going to try a different tactic with Tomas tonight. Let’s see if we get him to reveal what really happened on that island.

Host: Welcome to the show, Agent Medina. You played quite an important role in Desperate Measures, didn’t you?

Tomas beams with pride 

Tomas: Yes I did!

Host: The author and your creator has been interviewed several times since the book has been released. She’s been asked many times who she’d choose as the actors in the movie and in each interview she states that Josh Duhamel would be perfect in the role of Tomas. How do you feel about that choice?
Tomas’s smile broadens 

Tomas: How do I feel about that? Great! Josh is gorgeous and a hunk. Without a doubt he could play my part and win an academy award. He’s a talented actor who can combine comedy with drama in his roles. I can’t wait to see the film when I’m driving around on the island.

The host pauses for a moment to gauge the demeanor of his guest. Tomas appears relaxed and ready to talk so the host presses on. 

Host: Tell us about that scene, it was quite comical in the book.

Tomas: At first I was pissed but looking back it was pretty funny. Here I am a city boy used to driving in sprawling metropolises such as New York City or Miami. Suddenly I’m on a beautiful Caribbean Island where they drive on the left and the road barely has enough asphalt to hold a motorcycle. To top it all off I have a nine year old know-it-all passenger making wise cracks at me when I made a wrong turn and went up this huge mountain. Let me tell you, I almost soiled my shorts and my knuckles are still cramped from gripping the steering wheel. There was no place to turn around and in my peripheral vision I saw this rock formation to my right and on my left a straight drop off into the Atlantic sea. That guard rail would have done nothing to stop the car if I swerved suddenly, we would have cascaded off the mountain right into the turquoise blue water. I won’t even tell you about what happened when we got to the congested area of downtown Basseterre.  

Tomas pauses and grins.

Tomas continues: Yeah, Josh could play my role really, really well.

Host: But you did have some serious scenes too, didn’t you?
Tomas’s jovial expression changes to anger.

Tomas: Of course I had serious scenes! They wouldn’t have been as dramatic if those secret hiding idiots had come forth earlier and I wouldn’t have been placed in a perilous situation and almost …. Well you know what happens to me in the book.

Host: It sounds as if you almost died but survived.

Tomas: Yeah, unfortunately I lived to tell this tale. I’m relieved I get a reprieve from the second book, Desperate Deceptions, that the author Cindy somebody conjured up. However, I understand she has a plot in place surrounding me and my own storyline.

Host: Wow! That’s something, your own plot. Do you think you’ll be the protagonist or antagonist? Also what skeletons will she pull out of your closet, Tomas?

The host knew he pushed a button and wasn’t surprised when his guest shot out of the chair. 

Tomas: I don’t know what my role is but I do know that I don’t harbor any hidden secrets. I’m a federal agent and my past and complete history is documented in my FBI mandatory background check.

Tomas stormed off the set. 

Host: Well folks, this cast of Desperate Measures is getting very complex. Tomas’s last comment left me puzzled. Didn’t Scott Martel’s FBI background check hold a piece of the puzzle? These characters still have something they’re hiding and we need to find out what it is. I’d love to bring Barry Solerno on the show but he’s embroiled in the latest drama unfolding in Desperate Deceptions. Maybe Caitlin’s brother Dean will agree to talk to us next time. He’s just a surfer dude with no interests beyond the beach, surfing, and women. Maybe he has suppressed memories and can divulge some family secrets. Stay tuned for our next show.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interview at Pembroke Sinclair's Blog

Pembroke Sinclair invited me to her blog for Meet An Author Tuesday. Stop by and learn more about the creation of Escape to Love,  my favorite and least favorite thing about writing, and much more. There's also a peak at my work in progress. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Voices of Fiction - Time to write a book - Part One

Welcome back to Voices of Fiction.

We have a great set of authors once again, some continuing the journey here, and a few newbies.

Please welcome this week's guests.

Reno Charlton works from home as a full-time copywriter, providing clients around the world with content for websites, magazines and other media. She’s also the author of three children’s fantasy novels. Under the pen name, Emily Ho, she’s published two short stories, winning the Curtis Brown Short Story Competition with ‘The Journey Home.’ - Amazon UK, Amazon, Goodreads

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature, such as a moon lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. - Amazon, Blog

Karina Kantas is the author of six titles, In Times of Violence, Lawless Justice, Road Rage and Huntress (which is published by MMP.) She's also the author of Stone Cold a YA supernatural thriller and Heads & Tales, a short story collection. Karina originates from the UK but now lives in Greece with her husband and two beautiful daughters. - Amazon, Barnes/Noble, Website

Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. - Website, Blog

Cara Marsi, former corporate drone and cubicle dweller, and award-winning author, is published in romantic suspense, contemporary romance and paranormal romance. She also writes short romance stories for women’s magazines. Cara and her husband share their house with a fat black diva of a cat named Killer. - Website, Twitter, Facebook

Welcome Authors! It's wonderful to have you back.

This week's question: How long does it take you to write a book?

Reno Charlton: This depends on my work schedule at the time – once I get going I am on a roll and I tend to write large sections in one go. However, there can be long periods between writing due to other work commitments. I have written a book (draft copy) within a week before now but another book might take me over a year.

Catrina Barton: It depends on the genre, length of the book, and the amount of research needed for accurate portrayals. Sometimes a month, sometimes six months.

Karina Kantas: Anywhere from 6 months to two years. It's the editing, rewrites and read through that take time.

Cherie Reich: It depends. My first novel took me nine months to write at about a chapter a week. My most recent novel took twelve days to write during NaNoWriMo. If I've given the story time to percolate in my head and have an outline, then I can write fairly quickly.

Cara Marsi: Anywhere from nine months to 18 months. 

Thank you all for joining us today.

Readers feel free to ask questions concerning this topic in the comments. Also feel free to send questions to Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.

There’s also room for more authors to participate. Drop me an email, Subject: Voices of Fiction.

(Disclaimer - Bios and photos submitted by authors.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

National Novel Writing Month - Progress Report

Meter available at writertopia
As we step into Day 11 of National Novel Writing Month, I must admit I'm very tired. Why? The post office has hit high gear for the holidays, which is good, but very tiring. Pile on writing every day, and you have a very tired writer. But, I push and push and remain in line with the goal of reaching 50,000 words by November 30th.

I hope all you writers out there are making progress in both your word count and your story. I understand for some these may be two different issues.

On Day 7, my characters decided my plan wasn't good enough for them. :) I had to take a moment and rethink my stories direction. With the help of my characters, the story evolved further. To allow this pause in production, my characters and I had a talk and resolved our issues in the form of a document, which goes into the word count of the month. I believe this to be legit and have moved forward with the story.

If you find yourself stuck and about to panic, give yourself a break. These characters tend to do what they want and sometimes we have to let them do it. In this race toward 50,000 words, brainstorming sessions are allowed. If you keep pushing forward through your novel and don't take a moment to reassess when needed, you are only gearing up for even more rewriting.

Don't fall apart. Don't give up. Talk to your characters. Explore possible plot changes. And, don't feel like your cheating by doing this as part of your word count. It's much better to be clear on your direction at word count 10,000 than waiting till you are half way to your goal and get so stuck you throw in the towel.

Best wishes to you all as we move forward in this writing journey.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thea Landen - Happy Endings

*Voices of Fiction will return next Tuesday, November 13th*

Thea Landen joins us today to talk about happy endings and to offer a free gift to one lucky reader.

About the Author: Thea Landen writes erotic literature, frequently in a sci-fi/fantasy setting. When she's not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games. To learn more about this author visit her blog.

How Will It End?

On another forum I post at sometimes (wish I could remember which one), someone once asked about the difference between “erotica” and “erotic romance”. One poster answered that erotic romance needs a happy ending. If it doesn’t end happily, then it’s erotica.

I’ve never been one for splitting hairs, but I suppose it’s a fair distinction. The discussion made me wonder, though – does romance need a happy ending? Will readers be less satisfied with a book if the characters don’t get their “happily ever after?”

There are plenty of different non-HEA outcomes. Maybe the characters just realized they weren’t right for each other and go their separate ways. Or perhaps the author goes all out for the drama and tragedy, and the star-crossed lovers die in a burning building. (But if they’re together in the end, does it count as non-HEA? Now my head is spinning.) Perhaps one character is eliminated somehow, and while the remaining half of the pairing is shocked and heartbroken, he or she accepts the circumstances and realizes how his or her life has changed for the better due to the experiences detailed in the story. I’m sure there are hundreds of possibilities all along the spectrum.

When I was writing The Edge of the Sphere, I considered a more poignant ending where the characters don’t end up together in the end. (I won’t say here how I ultimately decided to end it!) Right now, I’m working on a dark sci-fi erotic novel. There is no way whatsoever I can give it a happy ending that fits in with the themes of the book. Is that going to cost me readers? Will they appreciate the acknowledgement that life isn’t always sunshine and roses and enjoy the catharsis?

As always, there’s no “right” answer. Everyone has their own preferences, and those preferences can even change due to mood, circumstances, day of the week, etc. I’ll toss this question out to the readers – do you prefer happy endings? If you invest time (and money) into a book with a strong romantic element, are you disappointed when the main characters don’t end up together in the end? Or do you find enjoyment in reading stories that don’t end on a high note, as long as they’re well-written?

Don't worry we didn't forget about the gift. To enter leave a comment below and mention you'd like a chance to win or email me at chergreen at chergreen dot com - Subject Line - Thea Contest. Entry Deadline - Midnight, Saturday, November 10th.

The Gift? 

A free e-copy of The Edge of the Sphere.

Blurb: Stephen’s quiet life is turned upside down when he experiences vivid dreams of a woman he’s never met. Liora, having grown tired of her forced isolation and servitude in the land of Marindal, uses the mystical sphere housed in her cellar to attempt to reach someone to help her break free. They meet up several times in a subconscious illusion Liora creates for them and quickly form a strong bond. Stephen follows her to Marindal, where he’s instantly captured by her cruel master, Thirvar. Plans for escape become their top priority, and their feelings grow deeper during their secret meetings in the realm of fantasy. The knowledge that they will want different things once they are safe from Thirvar’s clutches taints the prospect of reaching their goal. They are faced with the decision between seeking out the lives they left behind and taking a chance on the future of their love.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

November 1, 2012 begins National Novel Writing Month and sends many writers scurrying for their keyboards. In honor of the first day of many writing days to come, I thought I'd share some of my views on this event.

There are probably as many writers who disdain this process as there are those who anticipate it.

I'm one of the writers in between. I've participated two other years. One year, I produced a beginning to a novel and a bunch of short stories. This collection of basically a mess is sitting somewhere in the darkness waiting to be resurrected. The other year, I produced a decent novel in major need of repairs. I'm hoping to get it together this coming year.

So, two years equaled two piles of words in need of first aid. Why am I doing it this year?

I have a plan this time around. I believe one of the biggest mistakes a writer can do is to go into the high paced challenge without a plan. Writing words just to get to 50,000 without any purpose can result in a novel, but chances are it's going to be a mess to repair.

The purpose of NaNoWriMO is to write with your internal editor off. Some mistake the 'internal editor' for the Editor. The Editor is the part of you who makes your story complete. He is the one who goes behind the writer and fixes up the craft, corrects punctuation, and even dots a few 'i's.

The 'internal editor' is a whole new species. This is the gremlin that stops you two sentences in, saying, "Do you really think you can pull this off?", "Who do you think you are Stephen King or something?", "No, no, you can't start the story there? - A page later - "No, no, you have to start over, this isn't right."

Writers - kill the 'internal editor' and write from your heart. Let the words flow one right after the other. Bleed onto the page. Without the cranky jabbering of this gremlin, you'll be surprised how many words you push out in a day - challenge or not.

Don't forget to give the Editor his turn. His job is just as important as yours but see if he'll wait till you finish up the crafting first. Some writers have to edit as they go. If this is you, go ahead. There's no harm in it, but make sure you allow enough time to get your writing done also.

What if I don't get my 50,000 words by November 30th? My advice - keep writing. Just because the challenge is over doesn't mean you can't finish up your work. If you don't, then you just wasted thirty days that could have gone elsewhere.

What if I'm not finished with my novel by November 30th? Again, keep writing.

If your only point to participate in National Novel Writing Month is to write 50,000 words, then you are missing the point of the Novel part of the challenge.

I hope all who are participating enjoy their writing during the month. Those sitting back watching, get ready for a new novel for your reading pleasures.

May your MUSE be with you!

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