Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meet my new puppy, Pikachu!

I have to start with the bad news first, and I hate posting anything negative on any blog, so I'll make it quick. I lost my dear Chihuahua, Precious, last month, due to a breathing condition pretty much brought about by old age. She died in my arms, and it about broke my heart. I loved that little dog.
I knew no other dog could replace her, but I began to look at rescue dogs, cause it somehow felt as if her death would be more meaningful if it brought about a loving home for another dog who really needed one. And so we found Pikachu, a Chihuahua mix, (and I keep guessing as to the other part. She has soft fluffy hair, so I'm thinking Pomeranian?) Anyway, she had a rough start, barely escaping euthanasia. Her rescue name was Fergie, and if you have the stomach for it, you can read about her journey here: http://www.homeanimalrescue.com/litter1.html#top

I found her on the following website, and it was such a thrill to see the words ADOPTED, and know that I was the one they referred to:

And now for the best part. PUPPY PICTURES!! Below are pictures of what our happy, energetic adorable mutt looks like now.

And not to forget my dear, old sweet Baggins, who was bewildered by the absence of Precious, the dog she grew up with, and horrified by the wiggling, biting, (I'm working on it, it's play-biting, but Pikachu has sharp little teeth) rambunctious critter we brought home. Here she is, looking at Pikachu (you read the expression in her eyes):

I'm happy to say that last night, the two dogs actually played together. I think Baggins will be much happier in the long run with another dog in the house. She just doesn't know it yet.

My Magical Best,

Friday, October 25, 2013

Author Spotlight on Cathy McDavid

His Christmas Sweetheart
 by Cathy McDavid


Nothing's been simple in Sweetheart, Nevada, since the wildfire that ravaged the charming little town. Miranda Staley is among those who've sworn to stay on and bring Sweetheart back to life. She loves running a group home for the elderly, but it's getting difficult to keep her business going. She could lose everything she's worked so hard to create.

On the day of the fire, Will Desarro helped save some of Miranda's elderly residents. The handsome ranch hand is a man of few words, but Miranda soon discovers that beneath that quiet exterior beats a heart of gold. Will can help save Miranda's home and her business—but only if their love is strong enough to conquer his painful past.

November 2013  ISBN: 9780373754786 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Introducing Brenda Whiteside

I feel privileged to introduce to you today another author from Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, Brenda Whiteside and her book Amanda in the Summer.

Three generations of women…and the secret that strengthens their love.

A line of women, all named Amanda, stretches back for generations. Each with her hopes, her joys, her pain—each pouring out her heart in correspondence with a dear family friend who shares their lives, understands their loves, and joins in their sorrows.

But within the correspondence lies a secret. And as the youngest of the Amanda’s retraces the journey through the years—beginning in post-war America and following through to modern day—the letters reveal, layer by layer, the Amandas who came before her. Soon, the truths and lies hidden in the letters lead her down a path of self-discovery that forges a bond between her past and future.


August 24, 1968

Dear Tilly,

A few days of bliss with no one to talk to but the
seagulls. I have you to thank for this. I’m so glad you
popped back after Amanda, Robert, and Mother left. The
strain I put on all of us while you were here would’ve
dragged on for who knows how long if you hadn’t
returned. Once again, Tilly, you read the tea leaves and
righted things.

My moods have been so ragged of late. Jealousy of
all things. Jealous that you could talk to my daughter,
get along so lovely with her, which I’ve had difficulty
doing these last few months. Jealous of your longer
running friendship with Robert than with me. I’m not
sure if I was jealous of him or you. You’re both mine.
And angry that the two of you are uncomfortable around
each other after so many years and not making sense of
that. When Robert left, I tried to give him the blue
swimsuit you had left behind and asked him to drop in
on you to return it. He said no, I could do it when I got
back. This was so unlike him and did more to unsettle

Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about prairie life and writing at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Author Spotlight Caris Roane, Jennifer Ashley and Others Boxed Sets

There seems to be boxed sets cropping up everywhere on Amazon and other online sites. It's a great way to get your name out to new readers. Our own Caris Roane at Much Cheaper Than Therapy has tried her hand with doing a set with 5 other paranormal authors. If you like paranormal romance, this could be a great way of discovering a new author. You can't beat the price at 99 cents. Amazon KOBO Barnes & Noble
Dark and Dangerous: Six-in-One Hot Paranormal Romances

HARD MATED by Jennifer Ashley 

A USA Today bestselling book! 

Spike, a wildcat Shifter and the champion fighter of Shiftertown, is stunned when Myka, the best friend of a dying human woman, announces that Spike has fathered a cub. What's more, the mother is giving the boy to Spike to protect and raise. 

Spike is torn between the cub and his duties as tracker to the Shiftertown leader, and begs sassy and sexy horse-training Myka, the only person who understands, to help him. When Spike's job puts his cub and Myka in danger, Spike is forced to choose between those to whom he's pledged his loyalty and his need to protect the woman and cub he's come to love. 

THE MATING HUNT by Bonnie Vanak 

After a childhood trauma left Arianna Sanders terrified of sex, the only man the pretty Lupine werewolf desires is her fiercely protective guardian. But the sexy, mysterious shifter harbors a dark secret, one he’s determined to hide from Arianna. 

Kyle Morgan hungers for the voluptuous Arianna and dreams of consummating the passion smoldering between them. When he’s forced into mating with her to save her life, he must tame the savage, sexual beast inside him before taking the virgin he’s vowed to protect from those hungering to claim her, including himself… 

EMBRACE THE DARK, Book #1 of the Blood Rose Series, by Caris Roane 

Will she fall to temptation and give herself to a vampire… 

Abigail doesn’t mind doing business with the realm-world, until she discovers she’s a rare commodity called a blood rose, something designed to satisfy the deepest needs of a mastyr vampire. She wants nothing to do with that kind of power and servicing a vampire is just wrong. But Mastyr Gerrod’s resistance to her gift, as well as his hot hunkiness in his Guardsman uniform, soon turns her head and she bends her neck to receive a sharp pair of fangs. Mind-blowing sex, ecstasy, all good things follow. But how can she give up her human world to serve as a blood rose the rest of her life? 

ASSASSIN'S TOUCH, Book #1 of the Iron Portal series, by Laurie London 

Two worlds. Two enemies. One fated touch. 

Former fashion designer Neyla Trihorn had the perfect life until a deadly accident revealed her latent para-abilities—now she's the army's hottest asset in their fight against invaders. Rickert D'Angelus, the dangerously sexy assassin from Cascadia, leads a group of warriors into New Seattle to stop enemy soldiers from finding the Iron Portal into his world. 

When he captures the beautiful Protection-Talent, a passionate vision appears and stirs something deep inside him. Rickert must decide if it's a Talent trick, designed to foil the enemy…or the answer to his deepest desires. 

SHADOW BOUND, Book #1 of the Shadow Series, by Erin Kellison 

Dark fantasy meets modern fairy tale… 

Adam Thorne founded the Segue Institute to study and destroy his monster of a brother, but the key to its success is held in the pale, slender hand of a woman on the run. There is something hauntingly different about Talia O'Brien, her unknowing sensuality, her uncanny way of slipping into Shadow. Twilight is the place between life and what comes after—a dark forest of fantasy, filled with beauty, peril, mystery. And Talia is about to open the door. 

SEDUCE by Felicity Heaton 

Enter the dark, sinful and seductive world of the vampire owners of London's premier vampire theatre, Vampirerotique. 

Bloodlust runs in Antoine’s veins, a dark master waiting for the day it will reign over him. Now a woman with a pure soul and wicked intentions has him in her sights and is determined to crack the ice around his heart, and she might save or damn him. But when Sera discovers the shocking truth about his past and the darkness that lurks within him, will she be strong enough to seize his heart with both hands and win him forever or will she lose him to the ghosts that still haunt him?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Haunting F-Words- Fight, Flight, and Fear of Failure

What's in your Book of Dreams?

Do something that scares you to death – and mark that off your list, so you can move on in your creative journey.

I have this thing about heights. I don't cower in the corner, afraid to look down. Oh no, when I find myself up high, I have a crazy desire to spread my wings and fly off the

On a recent trip to Paris, I decided to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, not for the fabulous views or even to say I've been there. Here was my chance to face my strange fear of flying by going to the top of one of the world's tallest open structures, but what I really wanted to do was to stay grounded in Monet's beautiful gardens in Giverny.

So I battled the crowds to stand in line for a ticket, waited with a milling bunch for the elevator to
the second floor, stood in another line for tickets to the top, not to mention the toilette, where I learned that the Eiffel Tower sways… ever so slightly. In spite of my fears, I just couldn't back out now. We had another wait for the elevator up to the sky-level. By then, I was damned determined to do this, even though I felt dizzy and my palms were sweaty.

Finally… finally, we reached the summit and surged from the elevator to see… a cage.
The entire area where we stood was meshed, enclosed by metal wire preventing any attempt to fly. Apparently others had my same bizarre urge. Encouraging to know.

Saved by the cage, I gripped the top rail with my sweaty palms and viewed Paris at my feet
stretching all the way to the hazy horizon in all directions. It was empowering and beautiful and frightening – everything at the same time! In that moment, I soared to unbelievable heights. I could do anything! Even write a book and release it online.

Sometimes the struggle to get to your destination is more daunting than fear itself. Only by facing
my fears can I say, Do it! Do that thing that scares you to death! It might be tough. You
might not succeed this time, but it can be beautiful, exciting and empowering. And it's what
your hero/heroine must do in order to achieve change and satisfaction.

Being a Boomer on the Web is all those things and more. It involves a change in my whole way of
thinking and especially my knowledge of how to publish a book. But it's also empowering,
now that I've done it. I don't own the world, but I can reach it. And so can you.

I encourage you to do the thing that scares your pants off. Face your fears, whether it's writing a book or song, taking a class, soaring in a glider, or attending the Desert Dreams Writer's Conference in 2014. Try it! Do it! And soar!  No regrets.

My heroine in SECRET EMBRACE escaped to Ireland and took refuge in a job she didn't
particularly like. In the process, Brianna lost sight of her real desire – her love of music. When she
fell in love, she had to fight for the truth and risk it all.

The F-words - flight and fear were her barriers but when she confronted them, she was free to love again and pursue her dreams.

So, grip the rail, open your wings and fly… virtually. You might enjoy the view – and unleash your creativity to new heights.

What's in your Book of Dreams? What's stopping you?
Mary Tate


Link- http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Embrace-Hearts-Series-

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Desert Dreams Writer's Conference

April 4-6, 2014
Tempe Mission Palms Resort
Tempe, Arizona

Speakers Include:

  • NY Times Best Selling Author Christie Craig: Keynote
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Sylvia Day
  • Award-winning Author and speaker Mary Buckham
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Allison Brennan
  • NY Times Best Selling Author Karin Tabke
  • And many more
This national bi-annual conference gives writers a chance to ready their manuscriptsand pitch to sell them to big-name editors and agents. New York Times bestselling authors Christie Craig, Sylvia Day and Mary Buckham are just a few of the speakers who will keep the 200+ attendees’ creative juices flowing.
Powerhouse agents and editors—including editors and senior editors from Grand Central Publishing, Random House, Decadent Publishing and Boroughs Publishing, as well as agents from The Kristin Nelson Literary Agency, The Nancy Yost Literary Agency and The Bradford Literary Agency—will be on hand to give advice and present workshops. Agents and editors visiting the conference actively seek the high caliber of talent found among those who come to Desert Dreams.

In addition to workshops and opportunities to mingle and meet authors, Desert Dreams attendees are given a one on-one appointment with an agent or editor of their choice free of charge. Unlike larger writers’ conferences, every attendee is offered this option, not just those who are published or willing to pay extra. There’s one catch: attendees must sign up early for their choice since agents and editors are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Desert Dreams also offers a book signing open to the public on Saturday, April 5th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Mission Palms Ballroom. To sign up early and pay the reduced price, just click on the Online Registration tab at the left side of the page. Member price is currently only $180, so sign up now, before the rates go up. Desert Dreams Writers’ Conference provides authors of all skill levels – from beginner to multi-published – with the tools necessary to take their writing to the next level. Session included general writing, career development, genre-specific, agent/publisher spotlights, as well as an agent/editor panel. Check out our roster of acquired editors and agents along with our keynote speakers and workshops. Did you miss the 2012, 2010, or 2008 conferences? Order workshop conference CDs and MP3s.

Check back often for more details on the 2014 Desert Dreams Conference.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and on the Desert Dreams Blog for all the latest news and updates by clicking on the links at desertroserwa.org

You can register for the conference at desertroserwa.org

Friday, October 11, 2013

SPOTLIGHTING: Supernatural Thriller Writer Scott Nicholson

by Connie Flynn
Visit Scott's Blog
I’ve written about 20 novels, but McFALL is my first attempt at serialized fiction. McFALL is a supernatural thriller that features a return to my characters from The Red Church, a Stoker Award finalist, and Drummer Boy, set in the rural Southern Applachian Mountains.

I wrote the book for Amazon’s 47North imprint, and we are publishing it in six episodes.

Each episode has 15,000 to 16,000 words, or what would be about 60 pages in a printed book. I designed each episode so that it did all the usual work of a novel—build character and setting, further the plot, allow room for theme to develop—while also leaving a mild cliffhanger to build anticipation for the next episode.
The most exciting challenge was the high wire act we were attempting, since the first episode was published while we were still working on the later episodes. Each episode was edited and proofread individually, so we had to be careful to make sure there were no plot holes that we couldn’t cover in later episodes. I am not an outliner by nature, so I wasn’t really worried about painting myself into a corner.

I tried to develop a rhythm with each episode, much in the way a television miniseries will have each episode add to the whole story arc while being entertaining on its own. Amazon also helps make the serial easy for readers to follow by automatically sending a new episode to the reader’s Kindle every two weeks. Readers can jump in at any time and get all the episodes that have been released, and it’s the same price no matter when you buy it. The full book will be compiled and released in print and audio later this year.

The serial project was a great opportunity for me to grow as a writer and try something new while sticking close to my supernatural roots, and I hope we can continue the storyline in a future book.

Click Here to Order

This book is a Kindle Serial. Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes, with future episodes delivered at no additional cost. This serial currently contains three episodes out of an estimated six total episodes, and new episodes will be delivered every two weeks.

"If Evil had fortified secret strongholds across the globe, the red church was certainly one of them."
Award-winning author Scott Nicholson returns to the Blue Ridge Mountain legends and setting of his bestselling thrillers, The Red Church and Drummer Boy.
When wealthy developer Larkin McFall moves to the small Appalachian Mountain community of Barkersville, generations-old tales of supernatural phenomena, sudden deaths, and odd disappearances resurface. Larkin laughs off the stories as superstition, while promising to bring a bright new future to the dying town.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

They're back......

Kim Watters here. They're back. These ugly, bird dropping, leaf eating thugs are here again and have multiplied big time. My kids and pulled off about a dozen of these things off my lemon tree this year. Commonly known as orange dog caterpillars, they love eating citrus leaves. My citrus leaves. So, like last year, being the educational minded parent, we placed 6 of them in an aquarium so my kids can watch their metamorphosis.  Within a few days, they all formed their cocoons, and now we're waiting for the Giant Swallowtail butterflies to emerge.Last year only one emerged. We're hoping for at least two this year.

So what about you? What type of things do you do for your kids? What kind of every day happenings do you make into an educational experience? And for you writers, how many real life incidents make their way into your books? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tell The Story That Excites You

Last night, we watched the movie Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. It was suspenseful from beginning to end and the cinematography was superb. I enjoyed every moment, the critics are raving about it, so why didn't husband appreciate the movie? As authors, we cringe whenever someone criticizes our books, but the truth is, we don't all have the same taste in movies or books. My husband enjoys comedies and old movies. I enjoy comedies, but I love a good mystery. I once heard someone say, "No matter what you do, someone won't like you." It's the same with the story you tell. Tell the story that you get excited about writing. If you get excited, it will come through the pages and others will enjoy it as well. Not everyone, but that's okay, too.

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

Friday, October 4, 2013

10/4 Author Spotlight: Felicity Heaton, by Caris Roane

Hi, Everyone!
Today, I'm spotlighting fellow paranormal romance author, Felicity Heaton, because she's an amazing writer, has a new release, and lives in one of my favorite countries:  England, UK!!!

In Felicity's words:  I write passionate paranormal romance books as Felicity Heaton and F E
Heaton.  In my books, I create detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion, and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons!

If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enmoy my books too.

Latest Release:  HER WICKED ANGEL

The King of Demons and the Devil’s right hand man, Asmodeus is a dark angel born of evil and created for destruction. When his master orders him to venture into the mortal world and retrieve a female for him, he seizes the chance to leave Hell for the first time, uncaring of what the Devil has planned for her… until he sets eyes on the most beautiful woman he has ever seen—a female who awakens new feelings within his black heart, unleashing passion so intense that it controls him and desire he cannot resist.

He will not let his wretched master have her. She will belong to him.
Liora is a witch with a bad reputation and an obsession with fighting demons. A mission gone wrong sees her sent to Paris to cool off, but when a dark and deadly warrior with a gaze of golden fire lands in her life, she ends up burning hotter than Hell for the wicked angel. Nothing will stand between her and the immense, forbidding male. Not her cousin. Not Asmodeus’s sworn enemy and twin, Apollyon. And certainly not the Devil.

Caught up in a tempest of danger and soul-searing passion, can they survive against the odds and seize their forever after?

To learn more about Felicity Heaton and HER WICKED ANGEL, CLICK HERE!!! 

I hope you enjoyed today's author spotlight!  Be sure to sign up for Felicity's newsletter to get the latest on all her doings:  CLICK HERE!!! 

~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~

BornInChains - 300 DPI - 6-2013  From Rose BORN IN CHAINS

 1 Amazon-Buy Button-Small 2 Barnes & Noble-Buy Button-Small
 * * *   * * *   * * *   * * *   * * *
 Caris Roane is the author of thirteen paranormal novels.  She also writes Contemporary Romance under her Caris Roane pseudonym!  Writing as Valerie King, she has published fifty novels and novellas in Regency Romance.  Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, really doesn’t like scorpions, and has two cats, Gizzy and Sebastien.

* * *   * * *   * * *   * * *   * * *

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Haunted Retreat

As a writer sometimes you just need to get away and re-charge your brain cells.  The best way we light a fire under our dormant muse is to hang out with like-minded friends, brainstorming, eating chocolate and drinking wine.  We do this several times a year by going on a weekend retreat at a fun place in our state, Arizona.  And nowhere is more fun to us than staying in a hotel that is supposedly haunted.  For us as writers the fun of delving into ghost lore comes from learning the story behind the haunting and then exaggerating it to another level. 

We blogged about this retreat once before, but today we were reminded about how much fun we'd had and how we need to do it again. Maybe this post will bring back all the memories and get us motivated.

In the spirit of Halloween, here's our ghost story.

One of our favorite haunted places to visit is Jerome, AZ.  Jerome is an old mining town set on the side of a mile-high mountain.  The timeworn, crumbling buildings are now home to mostly artists who sell their work in the shops lining the main street.  Jerome is a wonderful little town to purchase gifts of sparkly jewelry, scented candles, lovely paintings and beautiful handmade clothing.  And when you get hungry you must stop in the Haunted Hamburger for lunch, but be sure to save room for dinner.  The Asylum, the dining room in the Jerome Grand Hotel features mouth-watering entrees and a great wine list.  Besides, you never know who might drop in to say ‘hello’ while you’re dining there.  Local legend tells the story of a lady who roams the building looking for her daughter who died at birth.

A couple of years ago during October a group from our local RWA chapter reserved the entire third floor of the Jerome Grand Hotel, which sits on top of the mountain.  This Spanish mission style building, constructed in 1926, started out as the United Verde Hospital.  In 1930, it was known as the most modern and well equipped hospital in Arizona and possibly the Western States.  In 1950 as the mine operation was being phased out, the hospital was closed and the building remained vacant for 44 years.  In 1994 the building was sold and the new owners turned it into the Jerome Grand Hotel.

When the hotel doors were opened in 1997, the haunting began.

“What makes the Jerome Grand Hotel a worthwhile place to stay, is the fact that this is probably one of the most active haunted locations in the world,” according to www.ghostlyfavorites.com.

As we checked into the hotel we were told stories of strange noises coming from empty rooms such as coughing, labored breathing, and even voices.  We were told not to be surprised if the lights or TV's turned on and off by themselves.  As we made our way toward our room, our spines tingled in anticipation of a ghostly encounter.  Several in our party felt cold spots in the hallway and there were reports of strange sensations. 

On Saturday night, the Jerome Grand took our group on a fun ghost hunt where we got some great orb pictures.  We didn’t see any ghosts while on the tour, but some creepy events happened to us after we went to bed.  Our room phone rang at midnight waking us up, but when answered, no one was there. The ringing phone was a bit spooky, but the scariest of all was the feeling of panic Bev aka/Dani had as unseen hands tugged on her body as if trying to scoot her off the mattress.  Since this hotel was once a hospital could it have been a nurse trying to move a patient?  Convincing ourselves this was only a dream we tried to go back to sleep, until Chris aka/Tia screamed that someone had yanked her hair.  After that happened neither of us slept until the sun came up.

Was all this real or just active imaginations of creative romance writers?   A personal experience can either change your mind or reinforce your belief in paranormal activity.  We believe there are things that can't be explained.  And, besides, who doesn’t love a good ghost story?

Our next story will have a ghost in it. We're finishing up the last chapter as we write this blog. Meanwhile check out our latest release, Time's Enduring Love. It's a time travel set in Kansas during 1866. We think you will enjoy reading it and we promise that you won't be scared.

Happy Halloween,
Tia Dani

Wednesday, October 2, 2013





Connie Flynn and Bootcamp for Novelists Introduce Bootcamp Classrooms
The Bootcamps formerly called Face-to-Face have been renamed Bootcamp Classroom since it's easier to say and it means the same thing. I'm curious about how you like the new logo. It's a little more girly and yet still has a whiff of testosterone, not to mention the blackboard that reminds us this is a learning experience.

The first renewed Bootcamp was well received by twenty-one authors at various stages of their careers. Watch for the testimonial page that will come up soon on the Bootcamp website ( http://www.bootcampfornovelists.com ). The 12 Essential Questions Classroom is designed for all writers from beginners to those who are seasoned and multi-published.  It's purpose is to help you pull together the story you want to write full enough that you will know WHAT to write when you leave the Classroom and head home to finally put it down on paper.


WHAT: Twelve Essential Questions to Ask to Turn New Ideas Into Stories. An all-day fiction writer's workshop that begins with your idea and guides you through your story to the end using a series of questions that when fully
answered provide the basic structure on which to write your novel.

WHEN: November 2, 2013 TIME: 10:00am - 5:00pm

WHO: Taught by multi-published author and Bootcamp founder, Connie Flynn.

FOR: Anyone who wants to write a novel, from first timers to writers to multi-published authors who are starting their tenth or eleventh or one hundredth book.

WHERE: Vision Quest Bookstore 2225 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257 Cross streets: Scottsdale Road and Oak (SE side)

WHY: You've always wanted to write a novel and don't know where to start. You have a blockbuster idea that you can't quite pull together. You've written several books that you haven't been able to sell. Connie Flynn can help. Whether you've never written a word or are a multi-published author working on your trillionth novel, this workshop will fill the bill because the material and exercises are tailored to apply to the individual writer's needs. They focus on YOUR story content, YOUR story flow, and as YOU answer each question you'll find the parts that fit the unique circumstances of the novel YOU want to write.

CONTACT:  Connie at bootcamp4novelists@cox.net


Until October 6    $69 Save $26

After October 6   $79  Save $16

After October 20 or at the Door  $85

 If you are coming from out of town and need hotel recommendations email Connie at Bootcamp4Novelists@cox.net for information

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Writing Great Dialogue in the 21st Century

by Connie Flynn      
At the turn of the twentieth century, the few books that dealt with fiction writing advised writers to use, oh, thirty percent dialogue and seventy percent narrative.  By the mid twentieth century it was a forty/sixty split and by the end it was a minimum of fifty/fifty.

So what about our new shiny century?  What is the currently advised ratio of dialogue and narrative?  I’m not certain, actually, but my best guess is that the attitude surrounding dialogue these days is excess is not nearly enough. 

I’m kidding, but only sort of, because the ratio of dialogue to narrative has increased.  At a minimum it’s  sliding to the other side.  The average book now is at least fifty/fifty, with some moving to forty/sixty.  Part of the reason for this increase is the popularity of deep third person point of view, which often makes it difficult to write compelling narrative without making your character look obsessive.

Those who hold back from writing dialogue tell me they don’t know how to make characters sound like two real  people talking.  Well, it isn’t all that complicated.  What is complicated is how to make it interesting, how to make it move the story.  And it’s important to master the skill.  Nothing endears readers to a story more than dialogue that sounds natural while at the same time relating what the story is about. 


What makes good dialogue hard to produce is that it must read like real people talk and also not read like real people talk. Good dialogue simply creates the illusion of being natural while performing the function of telling your story.  It often takes years to develop an ear that translates to good writing. Here are a few tips on how to get a head start and what to avoid and on writing like real people talk.

Avoid formal language or strictly adhere to the rules of grammar.  Think about it. Nobody talks that way.

Use contractions. Exceptions might be made if English is the speaker’s second language, but in normal conversation people mostly run their words together as in “we’re agonna go to the concert ta'nite’” Okay, so you’d never say that, and you certainly wouldn't make your characters do it, but I wanted to get your attention.

Be sure your characters don’t call each other by name all the time.  For some reason even experienced authors who know better do this frequently. Maybe it helps us keep track of who's speaking but real people seldom call each other by name – usually only to get the other person’s attention or when they’re angry. Remember your mother when you’d done something wrong, well there you go.  Most of the time she called you by a sibling’s name, right? 

Keep it short.  Most of us speak in incomplete sentences to get our ideas across and there’s a back and forth thing going on.  However, we do know people who open their mouth and go on and on and on . . . and (yawn) on.  You might even have one of them in your book. This is where you present an illusion rather than the real thing.  Give that gabby character a few run-on sentences, have the other character try to get a word in edgewise, then have the point of view character think about how this character hogs the conversation. That’s pretty much all it takes. When the first character shows up again, provide the reader with a light reminder, maybe give that character an extra line or two more than the others in the scene.  Next thing you know when that character comes on scene, readers will already know they’re tiresome gabbers.  We all know people like that and it will make them sympathize with your focal character.

Have characters give indirect answers. Dialogue that is too direct is called on-the-nose and tends to be predictable and therefore boring. Character one asks character two if they are attending a meeting that night. The obvious answer is yes or no, with perhaps an excuse. To make the dialogue indirect, have character two say something that leaves the question partly unanswered. For instance, “What time is it?” or “Where’s it at?” Or even, farther afield, “Is Becky going?” Which actually isn’t so far afield because we’ve all done something like that, and that’s why this techniques makes dialogue real.   

Try to provide two to three clever lines per scene –- cliches turned on their heels are good, Or   an unexpected insight. Or a reply that’s so far from what’s expected that the reader is jarred or amused.  It doesn’t have to be funny, although it can be, but it does have to be unexpected and off-the nose. The reason I suggest only two or three lines is this: If all the dialogue is clever, none of it is.  Save these lines for important moments in your scene, which the lines will make memorable. And give them to your protagonist, not the spunky sidekick.

In the meantime, if you want your dialogue to improve start listening closely to what people say and try to figure out what they actually mean.  It’s a fun way to spend time at the party and all those people you talk to will sing praise about how well you listen. Odd, I know, but then again, in today’s world, a good listener is a rare thing.

Buy Now
A Scottish paradise lost in time is invaded by 21st century thugs. During a robbery gone wrong, Luke carries his wounded cousin through a window in time, killers hot on their heels. Caryn rules this land and knows Luke has a duty because he's the legendary Dragon Slayer. Her duty is to convince him.

Connie Flynn, bestselling, award-winning published author of ten novels and three short stories in several genres — paranormal romance, romantic comedy, action-adventure and contemporary fantasy/sci-fi. She also teaches fiction writing. She lives in Arizona in the Valley of the Sun in a townhouse located on the edge of a lush green park..