Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Must Read: THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE By @ErinQuinnAuthor



I must start with a disclaimer: Erin and I critique each other’s work. After reading her first few novels and falling in love with her writing, I made it my mission to wrangle her into working with me, and I’ve been grateful for her partnership over the years. Her work often reads like poetry, and she does dark novels with a masterful pen. Being on medical leave, I finally got the opportunity to read through THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE once again. (It’s different when reading as a critique; I’m working, and on my computer. Reading the published printed version of the book is just sheer relaxing pleasure.) Anyway, I knew I wanted to write a blog entry one day highlighting some of her words that I found particularly brilliant, evocative, or sensual, so I marked the pages, and I’m sharing them with you here today:

Page 341
“Maybe that’s all you need to know,” he said against her lips. “That I’ll always be waiting for you. You’re not alone in this, angelita. Maybe we do it together.”

Page 295
He seemed overwhelmed by the responsiveness of her body beneath his, overawed by how it felt to make love to her. And for just a moment, he looked lost.

Page 278
A small pool positioned near the rental office and clubhouse glittered, surface as flat as glass, chairs at precise attention around the perimeter. All of it vacant and looking too serene to be real. It buzzed his already stretched nerves.

Page 231
“The Beyond, Reece. Heaven, hell—Hades, Elysium. Call it what you want. But in the end it’s the same. That door lets darkness seep in. And lurking in all those shadows, just waiting for a chance to scuttle through that opening, are demons.”

Page 221
Her breath was shallow. So was his. He held her body so close that their lungs filled in tandem, each breath taking the space vacated by the other.

Page 212
He leaned back against the pillows and tugged her down next to him. She resisted for about half a second before laying her head on his shoulder. He smelled of soap and cotton and Santo. She pressed her nose against him and breathed him in.

Page 211
Still caught in Santo’s gaze, she said good-bye and set the phone on the nightstand beside her. The air felt thin, dissipated by the man who moved like a jungle cat through it, bare feet padding against the wooden planks.

Page 195
He heard it again, a deep, menacing reverberation that seemed to come from just behind the boulder, and yet in front of it and all around it. The shadows gobbled the sound and spat it out in a million small, vibrating pieces.

Same Page
The air grew so still it seemed to thin until he could see the particles within, silver on gray, slate on black.
But then it shifted and became thick. Sulfurous. Suffocating.

Page 188
Reece had only ever seen the hours before dawn from the other side of midnight, when the rising sun meant the end of a good night. He’d never awakened early to watch it evict the stars and muscle down the moon like he did now.

Page 180
His palm felt warm and gentle against hers, his touch a low-frequency hum in her system.

Page 126
Her heart labored, so stressed she couldn’t tell if it had sped up or slowed down. The eerie stillness stretched hard and tight over them, an imperceptible cellophane wrapper that trapped them. Panic made her short of breath; terror convinced her that she’d find the oxygen siphoned away from their dubious refuge if she tried to fill her lungs.

Page 124
The sound of dragging footsteps coming up the other stairway—the one behind them—echoed just as the strident bell of the elevator binged ahead. She didn’t look back. She didn’t need to. She could sense the creature on the stairs. Could it sense her, too? Did she carry a scent that demons could sniff out? Was the one on the stairs testing the air even now and asking, Where are you?

You probably have your own favorite passages after reading this book; these are my own personal ones. And if you haven’t already read it, you can get THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE HERE:
And be sure to preorder the sequel, THE THREE FATES OF RYAN LOVE

As Always,
My Magical Best,
Kathryne Kennedy

 

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