Sunday, October 12, 2014

What I Learned From The Eagles



My husband took me to an Eagles concert for my birthday last week. They are by far my favorite band. They sang for two-and-a-half hours and I recognized almost every song. Yes, we were one of the youngest couples in the arena. They started the band when I was in grade school and reunited when I was in high school.

Between songs, they told the story of their band.  I found something they said to be interesting and enlightening. At one time, people thought the band was history because popular music had changed, but they continued to perform the songs they enjoy and radio stations continued to play their music. Not all young people know who they are, but I was surprised to discover my twenty-six-year-old daughter knew two of their songs. She said the radio station had just played Witchy Woman that morning.

Writers who are chasing the trends and not getting anywhere need to stop and write the novels that speak to them. Even if you don't make the Top 10 lists, you will be happier.


Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Seasoning Your Writing

No, I'm not talking about that kind of spice. I'm talking about the actual seasons.

And the holidays that go with them.

I'm a big fan of holidays, especially in books.
The book cover kinda gives it away doesn't it?

But it's not the whole story. I love them because I'm not the one trying to juggle everything while solving a mystery or embarking on a new romance.




Holiday themed books are a way to experience the best and worst of times without fearing the credit card bill after the new year.

We can relive memories, or create ones we wish we had enjoyed.

So next time you start writing a book, think of all those special times yet to come and sprinkle in a few.

And, when it's over a 100 degrees outside, Christmas in July might actually think it's cooler:D

Until next month..

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Recommended Reads by Kathryne Kennedy



There is only one good thing about taking a medical leave, and that is I have time to catch up on my reading. When I’m writing and in the middle of a book, it’s more difficult to leave my world, and enter someone else’s. So today I’m giving a list of the books I’ve read over the past few months, books that have helped me forget the pain…and the frustration of not being able to work. The good thing about being a writer is, I can call it all research!

Since I knew I had a blog post coming up, I thought I’d share some of the fabulous books I’ve read recently. I have good days and bad, so when I have the good, I can post an entry for a later date. Unfortunately, I never know if on that date, I’m gonna be having a day where I’m feeling well enough to respond to any remarks, so if I’ve missed you at any time, my apologies, and I hope that when my issues are resolved I can get back to being more reliable regarding comments.

Romance novels aren’t just romances anymore. Ask any avid reader, and they’ll tell you that romances now span the genres from Science Fiction to Mystery to pretty much every subgenre in between. Usually the novels are half romance and half the other genre, so readers have a wonderful assortment of stories to choose from. Of course, there are still what I think of as the ‘classic’ romance story, where the plot is minimal and the story primarily centers around the relationship between the hero and heroine. And I, of course, love them all, cause I never, ever, met a book that I didn’t like or learn from in some way.

So here’s the outstanding assortment of books I was grateful to have read:

Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
A paranormal romance, very dark and quite scary. I had a difficult time putting this one down. The concept, plot and characters were just so exceptional.

No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper
The tattoo on the back of the cover model is a clue to this time-travel romance. But there’s magic involved, so deftly woven into the world that it’s wonderfully believable. I loved how those in the past knew about other possible futures, so it made the heroine’s entry into the historical world, and her connection with the hero, such a fast-paced love story.

Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs
I’ve reader several of her Mercedes series, but have to say, I adore this series the most (Masques was the first book, best read in order). The relationship between the heroine and Wolf is one where you know they are the only two people in the world meant for each other. And talk about a tortured hero…. It’s the skill of a great writer that makes you fall in love with him despite (or maybe because of?) his horrid past.

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
Although I have been looking forward to reading this conclusion to the Earth’s Children series, the length of this book made me hesitate to get started on it for fear I wouldn’t be able to put it down. There was a lot of cave-visiting, and it made me wonder if it was based on real-life research on the part of the author. It was a joy to read more about one of my most favorite-fictional-characters-of-all-time again, Ayla.

Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen
I can’t express how much fun this book was! Savor it for a time when you’re feeling blue and need an escape to make you feel good. This is a historical, where both the hero and heroine have been spies and are then retired, giving them a chance to know and appreciate each other. Then they are both sent on a mission to find a murderer, and whoever wins gets to be a spy again. Clever and so charming, this book was a real treat and another must-read.

Forever a Lady by Delilah Marvelle
What I consider a ‘classic’ romance, this was a page-turner. It’s not often I read a book where the heroine is even more of a risk-taker than the hero, and this was refreshing…although the heroine is lucky she didn’t get into more trouble than she did.

Quatrain by Sharon Shinn
One of my favorite fantasy authors, this is a collection of four short stories, in several of her worlds, including the “Summers at Castle Auburn” world, which is the very first book of hers I read, and still my favorite. These short stories are just as fabulous as her books…she always leaves you wanting more, no matter the length.

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae by Stephanie Laurens
Another classic historical romance, with a Scottish laird and a feisty English heiress, this is the kind of book that has you laughing with joy and cheering at the end. It appears to be one of a long line of family connected books, with three closely connected books, this being the third kidnapping by the same laird, so needless to say, I’m going to have to hunt down the rest of these books.

All these books are written by masters of the craft, and I hope you get a chance to read them. Although I enjoyed all the adventures, I’m looking forward to being able to write my own once again.

Magically Yours,
Kathryne

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tips For Entering Writing Contests



Like many writers, I have both judged and entered writing contests. I am not a contest diva, but I have finaled in over half a dozen and even won a couple. I learned the most about entering contests by judging them. I have a few tips I have learned through my experiences and by listening to other writers give speeches on the topic.

1. Make sure you are entering a contest that is appropriate for your genre. If you are writing a paranormal ghost story where the emphasis is placed on the paranormal element with little interaction between the couple in the story, you should not enter a romance writer's contest.

Your manuscript has a better chance of scoring well in a romance contest if the hero and heroine meet soon in the entry. You will find most romance readers want this as well.

2. Read the contest directions several times. They usually provide manuscript guidelines. If they want the first 20 pages, don't send them the love scene in the middle of the book. If they want double-spaced, don't send in a single-spaced entry. If they want an entry that is not published and not under contract, don't send them the first pages of your self-published book. If your book is available for sale  in a store or online to the public it is considered published.

3. Remove your name, address, email and phone number from your manuscript and synopsis before sending in your entry.

4. Ask for a copy of the judging score sheet before deciding to enter. A romance score sheet may judge on the conflict between the hero and heroine. This will give you an opportunity to read up on romantic conflict before deciding if yours is strong enough. If not, you can strengthen your conflict or decide not to enter the contest. Tip: An extremely strong conflict would be he is a fireman and she is an arsonist. I can't take credit for that. It is the most often used example floating around Romance Writers of America chapters for years.

5. Make sure your synopsis provides every major plot point including the ending. If it is a romance, you need to include the conflict. Tip: I have often heard agents and editors say you must include the ending in your synopsis.

6. Read over your entry several times for mistakes before entering.  A set of fresh eyes can help.
I have my husband give my entry a once over. He'll catch missing words or sentences that don't make sense.

7. Every score sheet I have seen includes a rating for point of view. Head hopping is discouraged. Your entry will usually do better if you stick to one character's point of view per scene. If you want to change point of view, you are better off changing at the beginning of the next scene. If the first paragraph gives the character's name, action, and thoughts, the transition to the new point of view will be made clear (usually).

8. End your entry on a hook that leaves the judge wanting to read more. (Advice given by Harlequin author Linda Style.) If the contest rules say "up to 20 pages" that does not mean you have to end at the bottom of the 20th page. I end my scenes with a hook and find that is the best place for me to end an entry. I may enter 17 pages if that is where my scene ended with a hook.

9. When deciding which contests to enter, look at the judges and grand prize. If your are trying to get your work before a major print publisher, you are better off with a contest that has one of their editors judging the final round. The Valley of the Sun contest has a grand prize that should appeal to both indie and traditional writers: the top scorer will have their entire manuscript edited by professional editors. If you want to spend a lot of money entering every contest available for your type of writing, that is also an option.

10. You are the final judge. Entering contests is an emotional roller coaster. You are on pins and needles hoping to make the final round, but when you read a negative comment, your bubble bursts. Just remember, judging, just like reading, is subjective. When you read a comment about your work, ask yourself if it rings true. If not, you can ignore the judge's advise. If all three judges make the same comment, you might want to think carefully before tossing it aside. There are times I read the score sheet, put it aside for awhile, and then went back to it before improving my manuscript again. I am in a better place emotionally to decide if the judge was correct or not.

Don't fall the words at the top of this blog entry, the main purpose for entering writing contests should be to improve your writing.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright






Thursday, September 25, 2014

9/25 New Release, EMBRACE THE NIGHT, by Caris Roane

Hi, Everyone! I've had more fun with my Blood Rose Series, a paranormal romance series built around powerful mastyr vampires, each of whom rules one of the Nine Realms. These tormented hunky men suffer from chronic blood starvation, a result of possessing more power than their equals. The series then poses the question:  What if only woman could satisfy the deepest needs of a mastyr vampire? And perhaps more importantly, would she even want the job!?!

Releasing this week, is EMBRACE THE NIGHT, the fifth installment of the Blood Rose Series.  Here's what the story's all about!
~ ~ ~

Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Info // Win // 

He ignored his deepest needs for a hundred years…
Mastyr Vampire Jude has kept his distance from all women because he lost his wife and daughter to an enemy attack a hundred years ago. He won’t go through that kind of loss again. And he won’t jeopardize another woman’s life while the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs still pose a threat in the Nine Realms. But when Hannah saves his life by creating unexpected fire from the palms of her hands, he knows that something ‘very realm’ is going on with her and he can no longer ignore his long-suppressed desire for the beautiful owner of the Gold Rush bar. When his cravings for her blood and her body drive him to take her to bed and tap into her vein, his world shifts forever. But can Hannah make the adjustment to a life lived on the front-lines of an ongoing war? And if anything should happen to her, how could he ever live with himself?

For more information check out EMBRACE THE NIGHT on my website!  And be sure to enter my latest CONTEST!


And now, have a wonderful day and an even better night!
000 - Caris Roane Signature - Fine

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creating Sympathetic Characters





Once again, my husband and I are behind the times. We never watched The Sopranos until he bought the first season recently. I have to admit, it wasn't what I expected. I expected another version of The Godfather. What I saw was a great example of how to make a bad guy likable.

I found myself feeling sorry for the main character, Tony. He has an aging mother who can't take care of herself and yet refuses to move into a retirement community. His wife is never happy. His daughter and wife are always fighting. Plus, his son gets into trouble at school. We might not be able to relate to a mobster, but we can relate to Tony and his multitude of family problems. The fact they are all happening at once, makes us feel sorry for him.

This approach can used with your hero, heroine, or even your villain if you are trying to make him or her multidimensional. Villains are the hero of their own story.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Author Spotlight - H. D. Thomson & Killer Romances - 10 Books by 10 Authors for Only 99 Cents!

I'm pleased to announce that I'm in a box set with nine other, fantastic romantic suspense authors, which was just released this week! With 10 books, you can't go wrong for 99 cents. It's for a special introductory price right now.

Killer Romances
10 Dark, Deadly, and Delicious Novels
On Sale for 99 cents for a limited time! Ten of today's hottest romantic suspense authors have joined forces to bring you an amazing boxed set of ten full-length novels--all for one low price! Romance, mystery, and thrills abound in these dark, deadly, and delicious tales of lethally sexy heroes and the women who bring them to their knees. Love bad boys? We've got 'em. Love good guys? We've got them too! There's something for everyone who picks up this red-hot bundle. Ready to dive in?
~~BUY IT NOW~~

Dana Delamar REVENGE (Blood and Honor, #1) 37 reviews 4.5/5 stars
Mafia don Enrico Lucchesi struggles to preserve a fragile truce with the Andretti family. But when Kate Andretti flees from her abusive husband, Enrico won’t leave her in jeopardy. Can he save her without reigniting the bloody feud between the families?
*** Revenge was a double-finalist (Romantic Suspense and Best First Book) in the 2013 Booksellers' Best Awards! *** Website: http://www.danadelamar.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanaDelamar 


Tallulah Grace Cliffs of Starsdale
11 reviews 4.9/5 stars
Seeking a fresh start after her mother’s death, Chelsea Bates lands in the picturesque town of Starsdale, California. Nestled amid the peaks of the High Sierras, Starsdale defines the term ‘small town’ with well-meaning residents who always seem to know everyone’s business.
The one thing no one knew, couldn’t have predicted, was the evil lurking beneath the surface of Chelsea’s ex-fiancĂ©. Preston Beecher follows her to Starsdale with the intentions of taking everything she owns, including her life. Will Preston destroy her dreams before they begin, or will bonds forged in a small mountain town be the pathway to her future?

Bestselling Author Sandy Loyd Deadly Misconceptions
48 reviews 4.4/5 stars
PI Lucy Maddox joins forces with nemesis, Jack Finnegan, to find her mentor, a reporter who’s gone missing. It soon becomes apparent they’re being followed. And after a couple of harrowing near-misses that are too coincidental to be accidental, they increase their efforts. The chase leads to a ring of high school girls whose behavior could only be characterized as bullying. When they uncover the games those few cruel girls are playing, Jack and Lucy, realize they’ve fallen victim to Deadly Misconceptions and now struggle to stay alive.

Kristine Mason Shadow of Perception (Book 2 CORE Shadow Trilogy)
27 reviews 4.6/5 stars
When an investigative reporter receives an unmarked envelope containing a postcard ordering her to watch the enclosed DVD...or someone else dies, she turns to the criminal investigation agency CORE for help. But that help comes with a catch. Her former lover is assigned to the case. And as more DVDs arrive, they not only find themselves knee-deep in a twisted investigation, but forced to deal with their past and the love they’d tried to deny.

USA Today Bestselling Author Dale Mayer Haunted by Death (By Death Series Book 2) 11 review 4.6/5 stars
Death haunts anthropologist Meg Pearce… In her last summer before college, an innocent camping trip ended in a friend’s disappearance…and destroyed her life. She lost everything. Her innocence. Her plans for her future. Her best friend and lover. Seventeen years later, she returns reluctantly to the same area, hoping to move on. But a gruesome discovery sends her reeling back to that dark time.
Detective Chad Ingram has spent the last seventeen years trying to solve the mystery of that camping trip so he too can regain his life…and the lost love of his life.
Only death isn’t done shaking up their lives…and this time they are in the crossfire.

USA Today Bestselling Author Nina Pierce Blind Her With Bliss, Book 1 of the Dangerous Affairs Series
147 reviews 3.9/5 stars
She's trying to find herself. He's attempting to hide. Together they'll discover a truth that threatens them both...
Investigating the death of her best friend, accountant, JULIE TILLING, discovers a world of adult nightclubs and Internet intrigue. When shock jock DAMON COREY rocks her world in a wild night of lust, she wonders if she's found love...or the key to solving a murder.

Chantel Rhondeau Love & Deception (Agents in Love - Book 1) 11 reviews 4.7/5 stars
Nick Kendall is a secret agent sent to infiltrate a suspected terrorist organization. Despite his best intentions, he falls hopelessly in love with Carlie Hollis, an alleged key player of the group. Though he knows it's wrong, Nick struggles with his feelings versus what is right.
Everything changes when he receives new orders-kill the target. Will he follow those orders…or become hunted himself?

K.T. Roberts The Last Witness
82 reviews 4.2/5 stars
NYPD detectives Tate Kensington and Zachary Gerard are convinced one killer is at work, but proving it seems an impossible feat until a pre-teen prank blows the case wide open.
Both detectives have their own pasts to haunt them - Tate's ex-flame is now her boss, and Zach's estranged father is counsel for the defense. Complicating things even more are death threats, witnesses going AWOL, and an increasing attraction neither of them can continue to deny. Can the pair put away a killer on a paper-thin case? Or will their disappearing Jane Doe prove to be...THE LAST WITNESS...
The Write Authors Blog: http://www.thewriteauthors.com/

Award-winning Author H.D. Thomson Shrouded in Darkness – Book 1 32 reviews 4/5 stars
Winner of the Ready-Set-Go Peninsula RWA Contest Finalist in the Suzannah North Louisiana RWA Contest 1st place in Peninsula RWA Chapter’s Contest Two-time Golden Heart Finalist Author
Jake Preston is on borrowed time. If he doesn’t stumble upon a miracle and soon, he’ll end up dead. And even if he does, he still might end up dead with a clever killer hounding his heels. He believes that the one miracle and antidote to save him is in Margot Davenport’s house, across the country and miles away from Boston. Somewhere locked in her home is the key to reversing an experiment that is killing him.

Susan Vaughan Primal Obsession 40 reviews 4.3/5 stars
Maine Guide Sam Kincaid needs to prove he can overcome the loss of his baseball career and succeed at something. Investigative reporter Annie Wylde intends to use the wilderness canoe expedition to study her notes on her friend’s killer. She banters with Sam but rebuffs his advances, considering him just another egotistical jock. But when Annie realizes the killer has followed her into the woods, she learns there's more to Sam than testosterone and dimples. And Sam faces the challenge of his life to keep Annie safe and defeat the Hunter.