Guest Post: Creation of a Love Story by Cynthia Roberts

   Creating romantic fiction has been a passion of mine, ever since I was old enough to understand the connection between the sexes.  I think I was twelve, when I wrote my first love story and like most young minds; I truly thought it was a masterpiece.

There’s another masterful connection that has been going on now for centuries, and that, is the one between music and literature.  There is a full alphabet of songs that have been written retelling a work of literature as far back as the 18th century.

“If I Die Young” by The Band Perry was based on a poem, Lady of Shallot.  “Love Story” by Taylor Swift is loosely based on Romeo & Juliet.  The artist Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street” was based on an Anne Rice Novel, Interview With A Vampire.

More interesting though, the anatomy of a song has also within its lyrics a pretty fascinating back story as well.  For more than five decades, authors have been creating fictional pieces and bringing readers deep inside the lyrics.  I grew up listening to my mom’s collection of romantic ballads from the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  Those lyrics have forever been embossed into my brain, I still sing along whenever I hear them.  Lyrics like those back then told a story, and they were so strong, and emotional, their affect were everlasting.

I have a library of love songs on iTunes I listen to religiously, while I write, as a source of inspiration and a tool that gets me in the mood and mindset I need to be in.  It is from this list, I began to formulate a series of ideas, followed by cryptic notes on paper, and finally the creation of my Love Song Standards Series.  I made a list of the songs I connected with personally, whittling it down to thirty-five.  That number was quite overwhelming and I thought virtually impossible to create that many scenarios.  So, I chipped away at the songs and their lyrics, until I decided on a top ten.

I had made a commitment to myself to finish one book a month throughout 2016, writing a chapter every day, leaving me ample time to polish and edit each one.  I knew from the on-start, what I wanted my covers to look like.  They had to resemble each other in a way that would tie them together, but strong enough for them to stand on their own.  My designer Covers by Ramona did an exceptional job tying all my ideas together.

After Book 6, Chances Are, was completed, my brain was fried.  I took a short reprieve and switched it up a bit with a Romantic Suspense, A Pawn for Malice.  Happily, the first two books of my series received a 5-Star Readers Favorite Award, which ended my promotion efforts.  I was forced to take an extended break due to personal issues that had set me back both physically and emotionally.  My focus now is to both promote my series and finish the final four titles All The Way, It’s Impossible, Sincerely, and Unforgettable.

If you’re a lover of contemporary romance, please do check out my Love Song Standards Series.  I know you’ll be pleasantly pleased.  Buy links and descriptions are available on my website at RomanceAuthorCynthiaRoberts.com.  If you subscribe to my mailing list, we can stay in touch as to when the other titles are completed PLUS you’ll receive a complimentary copy of Book 1, Unchained Melody.  All that I ask is for you to please, please share an honest review at the online retailer you use most. It will help me dramatically towards promoting my book and the series.

 

Hugs from me to you.

 

” This is definitely a novel that I would read again. It is going to stay on my bookshelf for a very, very long time.”  —Readers’ Favorite

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Author Talks: Carrie Mortleman and Publishing Her First Book

It is with sweet servings of humble joy that I sit to write this article. I feel as if I have been chosen, as if a bright spotlight illuminates me, drawing me from the darkness, singling me from the masses of authors lined up behind the curtains awaiting their chance.

Why do I feel such an intense level of joy? It’s because I am a new writer & illustrator of a children’s picture book Hellie the Hovercraft Elephant. When I say new, I mean I am a real infant; only 12 months old. But this teething bub has been lucky enough to cut her first molars with a publishing contract by a real live publisher. It’s almost unheard of for a first book… talk about hitching a ride on the tail of a lucky star!

Why do I feel so happy and lucky? Because Jessica (who writes this blog) has chosen my book to review. Do I sound corny? Perhaps. But let me tell you, it’s is HARD to get someone to agree to read, review and blog your book. I contacted over 50 bloggers and do you know how many responses I received? TWO. Yes two.

So truly, genuinely, and with intense levels of sincerity, securing a review from a book blogger feels like being chosen for the lead role in a blockbuster film. A good review can change your life. A medium review can make you blush with joy. And even a bad review can be taken on board with improvements for the next release.

As a creative artist you put a big piece of your heart into your work, you put parts of your soul and hefty chunks of your dreams out in the public domain for the whole world to see. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating.

Time, that elusive and ever active essence that seems to continually slip away, this is what I believe book bloggers (and indeed any bloggers) lack. Blogging is a passion. You give strangers a part of yourself, of your life, of your time, of your energy, to really truly think about another person’s work and honestly and critically review it.

I know this because I wanted to become a blogger myself, but I realised just how intense it is for your time and your emotions, to continually connect with your audience. I remain an independent reviewer of children’s books but oh the horror, some of the submissions I have received have made me flush with shame for my fellow writers. But occasionally you dig a shiny pearl from the depths of the ocean, pry it from the stubborn jaws of a reluctant oyster and those moments are golden. They make it all worthwhile and you are able to give a glowing review and know that you have helped another person achieve their dreams. It’s a sweetly satisfying experience.

So it is with greatest levels of appreciation, I eagerly await the review of my first book Hellie the Hovercraft Elephant. With trepidation, I hope that it will be favourable enough that Jessica will accept my second book Queek’s Race in Outer Space available in May 2017.

Carrie Mortleman
Author, Illustrator & part-time mermaid

If you’re interested in buying Hellie the Hovercraft Elephant, you can find it on amazon! Also, any authors looking for entering a cool writing contest should check out Inkett’s Writing Contest and try to win a publishing deal!

Guest Post by E.H Nolan

Writing From the Female Perspective

I like to think of grown-ups as just that: grown up. We may be taller, wider, have gray or less hair, and wrinkled skin, but inside we’re still just kids. Kids with sorrow. Kids trying to pretend we’re making it in the real world everyone warned us about just fine. That said, who doesn’t let that little kid out at the most unexpected and unwanted times? Sure, we let ourselves play and have fun every so often, but the childish parts of us that want to hide when something is frightening, or cry when we’re hurt, or wish for whatever bad situation we’re in to be fixed with magic, do come out and remind us of our fragility.

In writing from the female perspective, I have two jobs: to reach my female audience, and to educate my male audience. If I wrote a “men are evil” diatribe, I would never be satisfied with my work. I have written male villains before, but each time I make him a full-bodied person with feelings and motivations of his own. In writing realistic characters, I am providing a relatable and cathartic story for my readers. Realistic characters are the most important part of telling a story, I’ve always said. In my latest novel, Like a Closed Fist, I’ve written an incredibly flawed and damaged heroine with a nearly constant internal monologue that brings her doubts and fears to the forefront. She may seem immature at times, but that is precisely the point! I’ve allowed my main character to show her vulnerability by letting out the little kid inside her. My heroine cries when she’s hurt, hides when she’s frightened, and wishes time and again for magic to fix her situation. Readers identify with her because they are reminded of a time, in the near or distant past, when they too, have acted that way and felt those feelings.

One of the main reasons I wrote Like a Closed Fist was to educate the men who chose to read it. Once again, if I wrote a “men are evil” piece, not only would most men not get through it, but they would neither enjoy nor learn anything. It is a tragic fact that most women hide their feelings from men. I guarantee any woman who reads Like a Closed Fist will smile, remembering when she said the opposite of what she was thinking to her love interest. I guarantee any man who reads my novel will be left wondering, “Was she thinking that?” This novel was not written to criticize, lay blame, or vent. It was written to educate and to explain. Yes, us girls act a little crazy sometimes, but sometimes we have a complicated reason for doing so, a reason men would never suspect.

Guest Post: Writing With Humor by Carl Schmidt

I’ve been sitting at my word processor for nearly an hour, alternately squirming in my chair, rubbing the back of my neck and watching the clock, hoping that somehow, some way, the Great God of Mirth will sidle up and whisper to me the secret of writing with humor—so that I can reveal it to you. After all, that’s my topic.

I’m not really sure how to proceed, but I’m not flustered; I’m pacing myself. And what’s more, I lied about it being an hour; it’s only been ten minutes…so far.

The problem with writing about humor is that the reader is geared up to be amused. This, more or less, puts the writer on the spot. It won’t be good enough to Google the topic and paste up the seven secrets of comedy writing. I read them already, and they didn’t make me laugh. People don’t laugh while their analyzing. To paraphrase Cyndi Lauper, “People just want to have fun.” And besides, if I cut and paste all seven, I’ll get nailed for plagiarism. So I won’t go there. My mission is to make you laugh.

Now… Fear of failure has always been a great motivator for me. So I’ll get myself going with a pep talk. Picture a manic, red-faced football coach at halftime with his team down by twenty-one points, and I’m the quarterback:

 

“OK, wise guy,” coach Ditka yells, looking me right in the eye. “You want to sell your book, right? Then you’d better get off your duff and find a way to be funny. Fake it if you have to, but I want to hear a chuckle in the third quarter. Otherwise, the reader will figure out that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and what’s more, she’ll be pissed.”

 

Jesse Thorpe is the narrator/private detective of my mystery novel, Dead Down East. Jesse has a cheeky sense of humor, which he allows to leak out now and again, not just because he likes to have fun, but also to maintain calm when things get perilous. The first really dicey moment for him occurs in the middle of chapter four, as he is trying to worm his way through an FBI roadblock. In the first draft, I had chosen that moment to insert a rather lengthy internal monologue, to expose the witty side of Jesse’s nature. I was having so much fun with it that by the time I was done, it was almost fifteen hundred words long. And while I liked the tension it created by suspending the dramatic moment in mid-air—for several pages—eventually I decided that it would be more effective as a prologue for the book. This way, on the very first page, the reader gets a preview of the inner workings of Jesse’s mind, a snapshot of his modus operandi and a quick peak at his girlfriend.

What follows are the first two paragraphs of that prologue. I hope it serves to demonstrate the use of humor in writing, and, most of all, I hope it tickles your funny bone.

 

Apologies and compliments are two remarkably effective devices for disarming adversaries in life and hecklers in bars. If you consider the socially adept people you know, you’ll see that they use these two conversational tools frequently and with ease. I remember the first time it fully dawned on me how valuable they could be.

Angele and I had been dating for a couple of weeks. Our next planned event was scheduled for Saturday night. So I was a bit surprised when she arrived unexpectedly at my place on Tuesday evening. I guess she decided that there was something that couldn’t wait until the weekend. The moment she walked through the front door, I began to suspect what that “something” was. She had a gleam in her eyes that seared me from the inside of my nimble imagination right down to my insteps. I surmised that she was either ovulating, or she had a sudden urge for a tour of the Thorpe habitat. I began to mentally review the floor plan of the house. “Now, where is my bedroom?” I thought. “I know it was here this morning.”