Monday, December 31, 2012

Mastering the Heart of the Book Blurb

First off, let's take a few minutes on this first day of 2013 to make a resolution to achieve a goal you're sure is impossible.

Impossible dreams make for long reaches and long reaches pull in more of the goodies we want. One of my impossible reaches is to master the art of  consistently writing good promotional copy for my books. I've been trying for a few decades and I'm convinced it's impossible, but I'm going to reach again.

Since 'hooks & blurbs' are Much Cheaper Than Therapy's blog topic for the  month, I decided, being that the blurb is not my strong suit, this was my wake-up call to go research the skill. I found some really interesting blog sites and some valuable tips.

The sites I chose to recommend each have their own strengths.

So, if you're just finishing up your first book and are now asking, "Blurb? Blurb? What is this blurb?' then the following links are where you should start.
This Yahoo site gives a basic overview:
Savvy Writers gives some great tips on the fundamentals we should never forget.
Tips for Writing Back Cover Copy — Guest: Roz Morris writes guidelines for both genre and non-genre fiction.

Jami Gold's blog has links to lots of fascinating subjects that might tempt you to wander off to read some. Just remember to come back to Much Cheaper Than Therapy because there is still more to discuss here..

As you dig in you'll probably find that the above tips helps you achieve on again/off again quality in your blurb writing efforts,an achievement I've also reached, but don't find that it's good enough. The following articles add some tools to apply finishing touches.
This one is more comprehensive and provides links to other articles.
This is the Romantic Times online site ant the page is on a blurb writing contest. The contestants each posted their blurbs for feedback from Kristen Nelson, a well-known and established agent. Take the time to study what Kristen had to say and notice the huge disconnect between each writer's coach's comments and the comments from a professional in the industry.
Last but not least is an article from Angela Booth, in which she presents an often cited formula for writing your blurb.

Each and every story is composed of the same five basic elements:  a (1) hero who finds himself stuck in a (2) situation from which he wants to free himself by achieving a (3) goal. However, there is a (4) villain who wants to stop him from this, and if he’s successful, will cause the hero to experience a (5) disaster.
I'd forgotten about this formula and am so happy I ran across it because now I can write a decent short blurb, another skill that's needed in today's changing and impatient marketplace. The above sites were talking more about longer query letter or back cover copy but eBook publishing is changing the way blurbs are written. Instead of flowing sentences and connected paragraphs, the small space given on eBook publishing sites and the very nature of the online reader begs us to summarize in just a few quick snappy sentences. Bullet points are often used. These would state the situation, the obstacle, and the consequences of failure. Often names aren't even used.

And with that I've reached the end of my knowledge on this subject but I am always studying and always blogging, so there may be more to come. In the meantime, I also got an education and hope this summary was of benefit to you.

I am curious, I must say, about the experience other writers have had with blurbs. Do you find them easy to write? Do you find them so impossible you have someone else write them? Are you on again/off again in quality? Do you love them? Hate them? Drop in a leave a comment about your experiences. I love to chat with readers.

A Christmas combination of two paranormal romances THE FIRE OPAL and SHADOW OF THE WOLF and one short romantic suspense OLD BONES all in one combined package.  Available through  

The books of Connie Flynn, a bestselling, award-winning author of ten novels and several short stories, are become popular with eBooks readers these days. She writes in several genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy and romantic action/adventure and contemporary fantasy. Look for several more new releases from her in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Author Spotlight on K. Dawn Byrd

Double Identity
Seventeen-year old Bree has always wanted a sister. She's shocked when she learns that her father is alive and her identical twin sister, Cassie, is coming to live with her. She can't wait for Cassie to arrive. She just knows they'll be best friends. 

Bree soon discovers that even though they look alike, they're totally different. Cassie is wild and impulsive. She hates Bree's little town and everything in it, except Bree's boyfriend, Luke. When Cassie becomes obsessed with Luke, she'll go to any length to have him for herself. 

Luke has a secret, which Cassie learns and uses against him. She's off her medication and will stop at nothing. She says he's in love with her. He says he loves Bree. Will their secrets destroy them and their relationships?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Revised and updated from a workshop I did several years ago, this post is all about using your characters to make your love scenes unique and intricate to your story. It has been posted in several parts over the last few months. If you’re a writer, this may help inspire you to write some of the most difficult scenes in your book: your sensual encounters. If you’re a reader, you will get lots of sneak peeks into the Relics of Merlin series, which is being re-released by Sourcebooks over the next few years.

The Relics of Merlin series of books are whimsical romances set in a magical Victorian London of sexy shape-shifters, enchanted tea, wicked spells and loose corsets. Since I’ll be using excerpts from several of the books in the series, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick overview of each:

Enchanting the Lady:  In a world where magic rules everything, two misfits--Felicity Seymore, a Victorian beauty unable to perform even the simplest spell, and Sir Terence Blackwell, a were-lion searching for Merlin's relics--form a passionate alliance.

Double Enchantment:  When Lady Jasmina accidentally creates a double of herself using a relic, the mix-up brings her real self into a compromising position with sexy were-stallion, Sir Sterling Thorn.

Enchanting the Beast: In the third book of the Relics of Merlin series, ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff comes to Grimspell castle to rid the residence of spirits, but she finds most haunting of all a reclusive were-wolf suspected of murder.

Everlasting Enchantment: In this brand-new fourth book, Sir Gareth Solimere has been trapped inside of one of Merlin’s relics for centuries, and only true love will set him free. But when were-panther Lady Millicent Pantere steals the relic, will she be his salvation or his doom?

So why am I doing a post on (gasp) sex scenes? Because several friends of mine said it was the hardest thing for them to write. Since they are my favorite part of the book to write, I thought I’d share how I do it and hopefully it will be helpful to others. Since I always seem to learn better by example, I’ll be giving examples from all my books to show how my love scenes are a development of my characters, plot and setting. I’m sure there are many other ways to develop a love scene, so let this be an inspiration and not a rule. If you’ve read any of my other posts on writing, you know my favorite motto is: there are no rules in writing, just guidelines.

(Read my previous posts on this subject by searching for the title in the LABELS or CATEGORIES in the far right sidebar.)


Or you might want to think of this as: why your characters are perfect for each other.  What personality traits complement each other? Your character’s flaws, strengths, goals and motivation all combine to create a unique personality. Let the character’s personality add depth to your love scene and lead you into even more romantic encounters.  The following example on using your character’s personality is from Enchanting the Beast:

“But then I realized,” she mumbled, her eyes watching his every move, “that it wasn’t your predatory nature itself that fascinated me so much, as it was…”
Nico couldn’t resist the temptation any longer.  His hands curved around and under her breasts and he gave them a gentle squeeze.  Her breasts were heavy and full in his hands, so very perfect.  He lowered his mouth and kissed the top where the cloth had exposed the skin.  His shaft had been hard for some time but now his trousers felt as if they nearly strangled him.
Nico dropped her breasts long enough to yank on the flimsy gown, exposing her hardened, dark nipples.  Before she could finish her gasp of surprise he had his hands under her breasts again, lifting them and burying his face in all of that soft, sweet flesh.
“Ah, Nico,” she groaned, her hands weaving through his hair.  She raked her fingers back from his temples and he yielded his feast to look into her eyes.  “Don’t you see?  It’s not your nature that fascinates me.  I…I cannot resist the lure of taming your beast.”
Nico grinned, more wolfishly than he’d intended.  “It’s not possible, lady.”

Nico is a were-wolf, who is struggling with the predatory nature of his beast.  Philomena is an older woman (a ghost-hunter by trade) who has the ability to tame him. Their personalities led to a full chapter love scene, the longest I’ve ever written.  But the moment Phil calms him, Nico’s beast-nature surfaces again. So they went back and forth between their two personalities during a romantic encounter, until Philomena finally won.:}

Consider both your hero and heroine.  What facets of their personalities make them perfect for each other?  What parts clash, and need to be resolved (or compromised on) before they can have their happily-ever-after?  Let that lead you to write their first love scene, where their conflicts are revealed.  Can you resolve some of them in that first scene?  Reveal how their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other and maybe hint how this will help resolve their conflicts.  Then consider their next love scene and the next, until they’ve finally resolved all of their issues and they have revealed enough of their personalities to each other that they can appreciate how perfect they are for each other.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays! Drive Carefully

On the way home today, we had to take a slight detour due to an accident at the entrance to our street. My heart ached for the drivers involved and their families. Accidents are horrific experiences at any time of the year, but at Christmas it brings sadness to what should be a time of joy.

Lately, I've noticed drivers are in more of a rush. Please slow down and be aware of your surroundings. We want all of you to have a wonderful holiday season and an even better 2013.

Until next Sunday,
happy reading and writing!
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Man Like That

It is my pleasure to introduce Alison Henderson, another writer from the Wild Rose Press, and her book

A Man Like That 

Jessamine Randall, fearless crusader and champion of the downtrodden, is not a woman to be left waiting at the altar.  When her fiancĂ© disappears hours before their wedding, the ever-resourceful Jessy hatches a plan to track him down and bring him back where he belongs.

Morgan Bingham knows he’s no good.  Never has been.  Never will be.  A former outlaw is no fit husband for the only daughter of the town judge, despite her misguided notions.  Besides, after ten long years away from home, it’s time to return to the hills and face his demons.

Ill-prepared, but armed with unshakeable certainty, Jessy follows Morgan to his family’s cabin deep in the Ozark Mountains where she’s sucked into a whirlpool of deep secrets and old hatreds.  While she struggles to bring light and hope into their dark lives, her greatest challenge is Morgan himself.   Can she ever convince him he’s worthy of love?

You can read more about Alison and her books at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Writing the Hook

As a reader I LOVE the hook. Get me a book that has a hook in the first paragraph and I’m probably going to buy that book above the others. As a writer, sometimes I’m not so fond of the hook. It can take work and a lot of rewrites to get a good hook. A good hook will make a reader ask a number of questions: why, who, what, where and even how.

With Shrouded in Mystery, I wanted to add a bit of mystery:

He came to with a jolt. Wind rushed through the broken windshield and slashed vicious tentacles against his face, while shattered glass and snow lay scattered across the dashboard and his lap. Pain cut into his skull and the back of his neck. With a tentative hand, he touched his brow and came away with damp fingers.

The first paragraph of Shrouded in Mystery raises the questions why, where and when.  Why is he in an accident, where is he and what is on his fingers to make them damp? In the next sentence, I mention blood, but then I weave more raised questions throughout the first chapter and end it with I hope one of my better hooks.

Simply put, a hook grabs a reader and pulls them forward in the story. To get a reader to the next chapter, having a hook at the end of a chapter is a practice I try to follow. Having your heroine fall asleep at the end of a chapter is going to have your reader to do the same. Not good! You want your reader to keep on reading until the wee hours of the morning, preferably in one sitting. lol

On the first chapter of Shrouded in Mystery I added an end of chapter hook, which pulls the reader into the next chapter:

“Not the best place to break down.” The driver shifted his rear against the vinyl seat and steered the truck back onto the road. “Since we’re going to be up close and personal for a while—the name’s Stu. And you’re?”

“Clark. Clark Kent.”

In Shrouded in Illusion I wanted to instill a sense of danger.

“No one fuckin' move!  You!  Get away from the door."

Excuse the language, but I wanted to get in the readers face and feel exactly what the heroine, Skye, is feeling. Questions raised: Who is the person talking to? Why is the speaker so upset and why does the other person need to get away from the door?

Here are a couple sample endings I used for Shrouded in pull the reader into the next chapter.

Brandy bottle in hand, David closed the cabinet door and turned to find a dark silhouette of someone else in the kitchen with him.

A shout broke into the library air.

The boy slumped.  The squirming stopped.

The door leading into the hallway and her only escape route from inside, slammed shut.

A moment later she understood why Peter wanted her quiet.

The gun went off again.  This time the bullet didn’t hit air.  There was no mistake this time.  The bullet entered flesh.  His flesh.

Happy writing! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Go ahead and drop it!

A very good friend of mine, Calista Fox, told me once that the trick to writing a novella is to begin with the house dropping on the witch.  It was some of the best writing advice I ever received and it applies to novels as well as novellas.

It's our natural tendency to want to build, but the purpose of a hook is to grab.  Period.  No matter what the intrigue, no matter what the genre, readers want to be sucked in so deeply that they forget about their laundry. 

I can hear some of you out there saying, "But if The Wizard of Oz had started with the house, we never would have heard the haunting lyrics of Somewhere Over The Rainbow."  Not true.  The kind of compelling back story told in that song has a way of finding a better place when it gets trimmed from the hook.  I know.  I've cut those beautiful melodies from my beginning many times and found a way to weave them in later.

In How to Write a Damn Good Novel, author James N. Frey offers up the advice to start as close to the final inciting incident as possible.  (He also suggest that when in doubt, drop a body from the ceiling, too).  Frey's formula for a page turner is spot on.  So take a look at your favorite books--I'm not talking about the classics--but a recently released novel that is a stand-alone title or first in the series and see if the house is on the witch on page one.

Whether your hook is action-packed, emotional or sexual, just go ahead and drop it.

Erin Quinn is an award winning author who writes haunting romance for the thinking reader.  Her books have been called “riveting,” “brilliantly plotted” and “beautifully written” and have won, placed or showed in the Booksellers Best, WILLA Award for Historical fiction, the Orange Rose, Readers Crown, Golden Quill, Best Books, and Award of Excellence.  Look for Erin’s latest release from Pocket Books, THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE, in Fall 2013.  Go to for more information. 


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Once Upon a Weekend

I am proud to announce the release of Once Upon a Weekend. My short story is a fractured fairy tale inspired by Rapunzel. Although the story is a step away from the mystery/suspense I usually write, it does have an unexpected twist like my other projects. The twist in Liquid Hypnosis was quite unexpected. Readers said they should have seen it coming, but did not.

What to expect from Once Upon a Weekend:

Sometimes a curse is really a blessing...When Hannah Lawrence agrees to manage a hair salon in a castle, she doesn't expect fairy tales. Then she finds herself alone in the salon with the owner's hunky brother, and magic sizzles between them. But can she forget her past long enough to embrace it? Contractor Tate Browning doesn't believe in magic. But when he makes the wrong comment to the wrong witch, his hair starts growing fast and won't stop. He's determined to finish the work he promised his sister--but how can he concentrate with the salon's beautiful new manager around? When Hannah discovers that Tate must prove himself worthy three times to remove the curse, he refuses to believe it--but magic cannot be denied. Will Tate and Hannah need a fairy godmother to find their happily ever after?

You can download Once Upon a Weekend in digital format at 
Amazon Books for $1.99 and

Friday, December 14, 2012

SPOTLIGHTING: Shelley Coriell

An Author Spotlight
by Connie Flynn

Shelley Coriel

About Me

Welcome, readers! Coriell here. I write young adult books and bake desserts. My debut novel, Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, is available now from Amulet  Books/Abrams. CHLOE is the story of a big-hearted girl who is ostracized by her best friends and forced to join her high school’s struggling radio station where she starts her own radio call-in show. On and off the air Chloe learns lessons about love, listening, and loneliness. Here you’ll find info about Chloemoi, and contests. Hugs!

I write stories about teens on the edge of love, life-changing moments, and a little bit of crazy. My debut novel, Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, released May 2012 from Amulet Books/Abrams, and my next YA, Goodbye, Rebel Blue, will be published Fall 2013. A six-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, I live in Arizona with my family and the world’s neediest rescue Weimaraner. When I’m not writing, I bake high-calorie, high-fat desserts and listen to voices in my head.

And also take some time out to answer readers' questions. Here is a small sample:

Q. How do you pronounce your last name?
A. The “i” is silent. It’s Cor-el, like the dishware that doesn’t break.

Q. Don’t you also write romance?
A. I write dark, edgy suspense with a little kissy-kissy under a pen name. These romantic suspense stories will be published in Spring/Summer 2014 and feature an elite but maverick group of FBI agents I call The Apostles. Nope, ain’t nothing holy about them!

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
A. Write. Edit. Repeat. I wrote more than a million words and eight complete manuscripts before I got a New York publishing contract.

Q. Do you have any more advice for aspiring authors?
A. Study the craft of writing. Study the business of publishing. Even after you’re published, study. You should always be learning and growing. If you’re not, you’re dying. Which sucks.

Contact Shelly:
For Speaking and Workshop Presentations: Shelley Coriell

Rights Information: Agent Jill Corcoran, The Herman Agency
ARCS/Publicity: Jason Wells, Amulet Books/Abrams

About Chloe Camden

Chloe Camden has a big heart and an even bigger collection of vintage shoes. Life is good…until her best friend turns the entire school against her and her counselor axes her junior independent study project. Forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass her Junior year, Chloe joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t always appreciate her unique style. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe tackles love, loneliness, and painful life lessons as she gives her big heart to the radio station and the misfits who call it home.  

Praise for Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe
“Debut novelist Coriel shows sparkling wit and great skill in creating complex characters with memorable personalities.” – Publishers Weekly

This debut novel is more than it seems. Tough issues are addressed here, and the information is ladled out deftly.” – VOYA

“An upbeat romance…with a winning personality.” – Kirkus  

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe
Publisher: Amulet Books/Abrams
Age Group: 12 and Up
Pages: 299
Want To Order,  Click Here

And here's a holiday gift for Much Cheaper Than Therapy readers, a free copy of Eat, Read, Love: Romance and Recipes from the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood. This unique literary cookbook pairs recipes with excerpts from the romance novels that inspired them. From YA to suspense to historical to contemporary... Join the members of the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood for some "romancing the stove," and delight in romance and recipes from Shelley Coriell, Darynda Jones, Jeannie Lin, Hope Ramsay, Laurie Kellogg, Kim Law, Amanda Brice, Liz Talley, and more!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hook Me With Your Best Shot

Hooks in writing are simply a means to grab the reader's attention and pull them into your story. Sounds simple, right?  It is and it isn't.

Just like in fishing, prose hooks come in different styles.

There are beginning hooks. You find these at the beginning of a book. They can be a paragraph, a statement, a comparison or a question. In a single line or four, these hooks set the tone for the entire book. That's right entire book.  A book with a funny hook must be a comedy. If your first line is there was a body in my bed, you better be writing a mystery or erotica.

Classic hook: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. A Tale of Two Cities

There are end of chapter hooks, aka Cliffhangers. These keep the reader turning the pages and usually end with the stakes for the hero or heroine being raised. These too must set the tone of the book. If you're going for adventure, you might end with a choice or a dilemma a la the Lady and the Tiger. No matter which the character chooses, the outcome is always bad, but just how bad it is will keep the reader engaged long after they should have shut the book.

Hook from Redaction: the Meltdown: Please, God. Don't force him to ink another rose onto his arm. He was already fully sleeved.

And lastly, there are hooks for the book. These have to be short and sweet, specific yet generic and they also have to reflect the tone of the book. For the greatest impact, chose words that elicit a visceral response. Here's a list  These are used in selling a manuscript via synopsis and also on the back cover of a book. 

Book Hook from The Stand: ...apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggled between good and evil...

Elegantly simple and unbelievably hard to write. And to make matters worse, no one hook is going to work for everyone but if you research your market, you're a step ahead of the game.

Good luck!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Writing Hooks

This month we are discussing hooks. I chose the picture above as an example of how a hook might get your reader asking questions. Is this picture really Elvis or a Vegas impersonator? Is Tina going to discuss Elvis or other famous singers? Perhaps it is the jacket she wants us to look at, is that it? Or maybe she is going to discuss how people changed history. Is she going to bring up The Beatles?

The beginning of your story needs to plant a story question your reader wants answered. The first line of Liquid Hypnosis is Trevor Carlton hated threats-when they were directed at him. Hopefully, the reader will want to know what the threat is and who it is directed at and will continue reading long enough to get pulled into the story.

That is the goal of the hook: to get your reader to continue reading long enough to get pulled into the story.

More on hooks next Sunday.
Until then, happy reading and writing!
Tina Swayzee McCright

Friday, December 7, 2012

Author Spotlight - Victoria Danann!!!

 A secret society, modern day knights, and vampires come together for a once in a lifetime adventure and a once in a lifetime opportunity proving that true love can find you in the strangest places, even far, far from home.

Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own.

Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?

My Familiar Stranger is a full length, stand alone, Paranormal Romance novel that also sets up the foundation for the Black Swan series. It is loved by fans of paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and urban fantasy.

What critics say:  "Smart. Sexy. Magical."

About Victoria Danann:  Though works of fiction are a departure for her, she's had this series simmering on the back burner of her mind for years, but time is at a premium. In addition to authoring and illustrating Seasons of the Witch and writing course work for Seasons in Avalon, she plays Classic Rock music and manages Houston’s premier variety and R&B band.

She's been married to the same person for way more than half her life.  She believes in true love and romance, too.

You can learn more about Victoria at:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Available Soon --- Spoonful of Sugar by Tia Dani

During a drug bust, friendly fire almost ended Brad Davidson's career on the St Louis police force, but his wife's social avarice, was the final blow. Divorced and disillusioned, Brad returned to his home town of Coker City to become its County Sheriff, content to keep the town, and his heart, safe. Until, he meets the new pharmacist. Brad decides he's wasted plenty of time running from his own broken heart.
Dana Barrett looks for a fresh start in a small town. Coker City, Illinois is about as far away as a young widow with four small children can afford to get from Chicago and its painful memories. Malicious gossip ruined her life once and she swears she will never let it happen again. While Dana struggles to keep a professional relationship with the handsome, attentive sheriff, Brad is ready to take a chance on love again. Dana's fear of gossip raises an unswayable wall between them.
The entire town is convinced Brad is the answer for Dana's family and the town's future. Through their eyes, Dana decides not all gossip is meant to be destructive. When she learns Brad is considering another job out of state, she risks the outrageous so she and her children can keep from losing the sweetest love of her life.
Cover by Bella Media management
Available soon on
We had a lot of fun writing Dana and Brad's story and we hope you have as much fun reading about them.
Available soon in ebook and print  --  Spoonful of Sugar.
Tia Dani

Ink Jockeys Sponsor a Book Derby

The champions are out of the gate! Ink Jockeys announce their first ever . . .


All books FREE or 99 Cents
TWO DAYS ONLY:  December 5 and December 6

All books written by bestselling, award-winning, traditionally published authors who have broken out of the starting gate to publish independently.  Join us at the ticket window.




Don't forget to send a few as gifts! You can specify delivery date on Amazon, so your gift is received at Christmas! Don't have a Kindle? Check out Amazon's FREE reading apps

Find it all at the Ink Jockeys blog where you can learn more about our members and our purpose for coming together. We can also be found on Facebook and be tweeted at @inkjockeys.


The books of Connie Flynn, a bestselling, award-winning author of ten novels and several short stories, are getting some positive attention from eBooks readers these days. She writes in several genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy and romantic action/adventure, contemporary fantasy, and mystery/suspense.

*Giveaway Rules: We love to hear from our readers so please leave a comment. If you include the email address where you can be notified, you will be entered into the gift card drawing. The winner will be selected through Random Org. By entering, you understand that you may be added to Ink Jockey member's mailing lists.  Your address will not be given to others and if you later decide you don't want to continue,  feel free to unsubscribe.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Constructing Killer Characters

by Connie Flynn

1. Start with the villain
Why start with the villain? Possibly because they can be more interesting, which is often true.  There’s nothing quite so compelling as someone who will stop at nothing. Even if that nothing turns your stomach, you’re still fascinated because you want to know if this vile person will actually do it.  He might, and that’s what has you on the edge of your seat. Somebody has to stop him.

2. Constructing the villain

Shouldn't you start with villainous traits? Isn’t that how villain’s are made?  A nefarious purpose, unmitigated selfishness, ruthless determination. Kicks cats and dogs, cruel to children and beats his mother. I could even give him a waxed mustache to twirl, because I’m sure you all see how stereotypical this is. Good villains have traits every bit as complex as your protagonist and should sometimes exhibit caring and  tenderness and generosity. Hitler loved his mother and Eva Braun and managed to compartmentalize his life and this is the key to a strong villain -- he has different rules for different people.

There are also differences between antagonists and villains. Antagonists oppose the protagonist, often for very valid reasons – these two battle on opposite sides of the fence, rather than battling good and evil.  All villains are antagonists but not all antagonists are villains. Villain’s intend to harm or eliminate the hero any way he can. But that doesn’t mean you can give him a waxed mustache.

3. Constructing the hero/ine
This is where the hero finally comes in.  Build an exciting and scheming villain. Then bring the hero in to thwart him, stand in his way wherever he can, defeat his every evil scheme. Turn the tables so the hero is every bit as proactive as the everyday villain, if not more so. He does this for the purist of reasons of course (except for a touch of egotism and self-interest) and makes the villain reveal his true colors.

4.Constructing the conflict
Use conflict to build a powerful story.  With each side of the battle determined to be a step ahead of the other, you can't help but create conflict that crackles.  Each time a character impacts the other, the second character regroups with a counter-move. Back and forth, back and forth. What she wants is exactly opposite of what he wants.  As you plot you will have one character make a move, then have the other move against it in an engrossing game of chess or an exhilarating tennis match. Because that's exactly how it works.

This is a true writing secret that spans both character and plot development that’s right under every writer’s nose: What makes characters come to life and keeps readers glued to the page is the continual push/pull between what the villain wants, what the hero/ine wants.  One wins, the other loses, that one wins, the first one loses, each with escalating consequences until one finally goes over the edge.  

Do you have a favorite villain. If so, I invite you to tell us who and why? Mine is Hannibal Lector (the deadly cannible) because he was so deadly . . . and also urbane. So fess up. How's your man . . . or woman . . . or supernatural character for that matter. Think Count Dracula or Ann Rice's Lestat.

99Cents at Amazon
The books of Connie Flynn, a bestselling, award-winning author of ten novels and several short stories, are getting quite a bit of positive attention from eBooks readers these days. She writes in several genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy and action/adventure, contemporary fantasy, and mystery/suspense, this last under the name of K.C. Flynn. Look for several more new releases from Connie/K.C. in 2013.

I'll also belong to Ink Jockeys, a group of multi-published, bestselling and award-winning authors who are now breaking out in independent eBook publishing.  Stop by the Ink Jockeys blog on December 5 and 6 for a FREE and 99Cents Blowout Book Derby.  Plus . . . a $25 Kindle gift card giveaway drawing open to any visitor who leaves a comment with an email address. You will be added to our mailing lists but you can unsubscribe at a later date.

I hope to see you at the BookDerby! ! !

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Organizing Chargers

I am constantly looking for ideas to make my life easier. I don't have time to mess with stuff. Today, I came up with a better way of organizing my chargers.

I already label each charger so I know which device it belongs to. Once upon a time, I found a collection of chargers in my daughter's room and had no idea what do with them. I believe I eventually tossed them since she had long grown up and move out.

I had already been placing the chargers in the basket, but today I remembered I had a box organizer, which are plastic pieces that divide boxes. I bent them a little to fit into the basket and now each charger has its own place in the basket, so they no longer get tangled together. To hide the chargers, I place a fake plant on top of the basket. Now it looks like part of the decor.

Until next week, 
happy writing or
happy organizing!

Tina Swayzee McCright