H is for Hero

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

H is for Hero - Who is the hero of your story?  In Romance, the convention is to have a hero and a heroine (or a hero/hero or heroine/heroine, or hero/hero/heroine … you get the idea), both of whom get relatively equal time in the story.  Romance is written from the hero’s and heroine’s point of view.  The reader sees what they see, hears what they hear, knows what they know.  Often, those are the only two viewpoints in a story, but sometimes the antagonist (the bad guy) or an important secondary character gets a few scenes, too.

securedownloadRomance readers love an alpha hero – large and in charge describes this type of man.  But beta heroes have their followers, too, who prefer the more sensitive, cooperative male.  Heroines, thankfully, have gone from simpering, empty-headed missies the hero must save to kick-ass women who can not only take care of themselves, they often save the hero, or work side-by-side with the hero to resolve the conflicts in the book.  While the definition of hero, especially the alpha variety, hasn’t changed much in Romance novels, the definition of heroine certainly has.

G is for Genre

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

G is for Genre – What is a genre?  The dictionary definition goes something like this: a category of literature or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. In other words, it’s the type of book you’re writing, whether it’s a mystery, a western, science fiction, or some sub-genre of romance (e.g., science fiction romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, etc.).

Traditionally, publishers liked nice clean divisions between genres.  Well-defined genres make books easier to shelve and to market.  But there are some authors (me included) whose books cross genres.  Mine are Scottish historical paranormal romance.  Say that six times, fast!

Red BooksCrossing genres makes marketing more of a challenge, though digital booksellers can get around that with well-chosen keywords, but it also provides opportunities to reach more readers.  My readers might like historical romance, or Scottish historical romance, or paranormal romance, psi-focused science fiction or even fantasy, but they find elements of their favorite style in my books.  So my readers come from all of those preference groups, not just one.

The secret is out.  As writers find their readership expanding, crossing genres is becoming more common.

F is for Finish the Damn Book!

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post, on April 1, was A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

F is for  - Finish the Damn Book!  If you’re like the majority of would-be authors, you’ve started and abandoned many manuscripts.  Starting a book is like starting a love affair.  It’s all mystery and excitement at the beginning.  The possibilities seem endless, and at the beginning, they are.  But like any love affair, the fireworks fade.

Therein lies the rub.  You get confused, lose your focus, your characters don’t cooperate and your plot (if you even have one) seems trite, or it’s going nowhere. So what should you do? Get over it.  Break ranks with the wanna-be’s and finish your first draft.

You’ll have accomplished what 90 percent of writers fail to do.  And if you succeed in editing, polishing, submitting and getting published, you’ll join the elite ten percent of the ten percent who finished their draft. Congratulations!

Easy-reading-is-damn-hardA quote attributed to Nathaniel Hawthorne says “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  It’s true.  You can’t escape doing the work.  But type “the end” on the last page of that finished first draft, second draft, or polished manuscript and you’ll find out that it’s also amazingly rewarding.  Go ahead.  Do it.  I dare you!

E is for Ergonomics

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

478px-Alphanumeric_keyboardE is for Ergonomics – Face it.  We spend hours in the same chair, staring at the same screen, typing on the same keyboard.  Sitting in the same position.

Can you spell repetitive stress injury?

Unfortunately, I can.  I’m battling carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar (elbow – funnybone) nerve damage from my dedication to BICHOK (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard) and a tendency to lean on my left elbow.

Do yourself a favor and get away from the desk every once in a while.  Stand up.  Move around.  Forget the big, wooden executive desk and get one that you can adjust up and down.  Ditto for the chair.  You’re an author.  These are your tools, just the same as pen and paper.  You’re going to spend hours a day for (probably) the rest of your life with them, so get the best you can afford and remember to take a break — often.

D is for Draft

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

9678365189_6288a55d46_mD is for Draft, First Draft  - What takes a lot of time and effort, and possibly blood, sweat and tears, not to mention a martini or six? Not Bond, James Bond.  It’s draft, first draft.

Trust me, it’s going to hurt.

In fact, there’s an excellent chance your first draft is going to suck.  You won’t want anyone else to see it.  You’ll wonder what you were thinking, calling yourself a writer.  That’s okay.  Once the first draft is done, you’ll have a better handle on the size and scope of your story, the personalities of your characters, and what you need to add and delete and change.  Then, you can transform that hot mess into a fabulous book.

It’s all in that much-maligned first draft.  Write on!

Image courtesy of Shawn Budemer/Flickr

C is for Collaborate

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

C is for Collaborate – You know the old saying: A rising tide lifts all boats.  It’s true for authors, too.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe more we collaborate and cross-promote by tweeting, re-tweeting, joining book release parties on Facebook, and so forth, the more our reach grows.  I’ve gained new readers that way, and I’m sure my readers have found some new authors, too.

If you wonder why you would want to help your “competition,” think again.  Readers love similar books.  Mysteries, contemporary romance, historical fiction, even Scottish historical romance.  Once they’ve read everything by their favorite author, they go looking for similar books.

Don’t pass up an opportunity to cross-promote.  Retweet other authors.  Participate in online book release parties. Create opportunities for other authors by hosting your own online party and inviting them to “appear” to talk about their new book, run a contest and give away a prize.  If you’re not sure who else your readers would enjoy, ask them.  Or explore bookstores to see whose books are similar to yours.  You never know how many great authors, great stories, and new readers you’ll find!

B is for Burr

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  The first is A, the second is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

B is for Burr, or Brogue.  That lovely Scottish accent that sends chills from our fingertips to our toes.  What is it about rolling Rs vibrating from deep in the chest of a male speaker?  Whatever it is, we can’t get enough.

B1895_HighlandHealer_DAudiobooks to the rescue!  Highland Healer came out in audiobook format just last month.  When I listened, I was amazed at what a different experience hearing the story gave me, instead of reading it.  You can find out for yourself at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Tantor, and Audible.

A is for Advertise

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  Today’s post is A, tomorrow’s will be B and so on every day this month, except Sundays.  Last year, my theme was Scotland.  This year, my theme is The Writing Life.  Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year.  For instance:

A is for Advertising – you can’t be successful as an author these days without tooting your own horn.  It’s tough, and it’s especially tough for those of us who were taught to do our best and count on someone else to notice. 

Very few authors can just put books out there and make it in today’s market.  So we advertise.  

imageFor example?  Today, I have a Special Sneak Peek up on RomCon for your reading pleasure – including an excerpt.  If you haven’t read The Healer’s Gift (A Highland Talents Novella) yet, take a look.  You might win a copyIf you’re intrigued and can’t wait to see if you won, you can get it from Amazon.

Love That Scottish Burr? You’re In Luck!


486078_348901101886782_1994720705_nDo you love the sound of a Scottish accent? Can you feel those r-r-r-r-r’s rolling off the tongue and across your skin? Especially if the speaker is hot, male and wearing a kilt? 
You’re in luck! Highland Healer is now an audiobook! You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Tantor.com and audible.com – today!

CONTEST! Win Highland Healer’s Audiobook CDs

And the Winner is: Melody Gonser!  Congratulations, Melody.  And thanks to everyone who entered!

CONTEST!

B1895_HighlandHealer_DWould you like to win the audiobook CDs of my bestselling Scottish historical romance?  I’d love to give a set away!  The set contains eight CDs and is guaranteed to give you hours of those sexy Scottish accents you love.

What do you need to do to win?   Four things (yes, all four things):

1. Join my mailing list (click on the Newsletter envelope icon on the top right side of this page). Already on my mailing list? That counts!

2. Like my Facebook Author Page and leave “Liked” as a comment.  Already “liked” my author page? That counts!  Not on Facebook?  Like my Goodreads Author Page.  Of course, you’re welcome to do both!

3. Like my Amazon Author Page and share it on Facebook or Twitter (or both).

4. Leave a comment on this page telling me that you’ve done the first three on this list, and where you shared my Amazon author page – Facebook or Twitter?

I’ll pick a winner at random and announce it here in two weeks.  Ready?  Set?  Go!  Good Luck!

Love That Scottish Burr? You’re In Luck!

Do you love the sound of a Scottish accent? Can you feel those r-r-r-r-r’s rolling off the tongue and across your skin? Especially if the speaker is hot, male and wearing a kilt?

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You’re in luck! Highland Healer has been produced as an audiobook and comes out on 3 March. You can preorder it at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble right now.

Highland Seer on USAToday HEA!

Highland Seer is on USAToday’s HEA blog!  Check it out!

The official release day is Friday, 1 Nov., and the party is on Facebook, so join the fun! 

FinalHighlandSeer_w7776Contests!  Prizes!  Very Special Guests!  Don’t miss it!

Look What Just Arrived!

How exciting!  Print copies of Highland Seer arrived this week from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.  

I’m looking forward to giving some of them away during Highland Seer’s Release Day party on 1 November!  Mark your calendars and join the fun!

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Meet Donal MacNabb

I wrote this recently for a fun competition for the most swoon-worthy hero at AJ’s Tattered Pages.  (The books there are no longer free, but they are on sale.) There’s just something about a man in a kilt!

I liked this character sketch so much, I decided to share it here.  And to do one of these for my other major characters, too.  So you’ll see an appearance by Toran, Aileana, Ellie and possibly others, sometime in the near future.

FinalHighlandSeer_w7776Donal MacNabb is warrior honed to physical perfection, a highly respected arms master and a gifted teacher. He is also a born skeptic who trusts his five senses and little else. Despite his gruff exterior, Donal possesses a caring heart. A younger son with no prospects at MacNabb, his loyalty lies with his adopted Lathan clan.

In book 1, HIGHLAND HEALER, loyalty compels him to challenge his laird’s fascination with the uniquely-talented, yet possibly dangerous, healer from the invading army. Donal’s eventual acceptance of her is hard-won.

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So when it is his turn to fall in love in book 2, HIGHLAND SEER, Karma presents him with Ellie MacKyrie, Seer and laird, a woman whose strange ability he struggles to accept and whose station he considers far above his own. Despite Ellie’s determination to win him, he believes he is not a suitable consort for Laird MacKyrie. Other than his skill with his sword, he has nothing to offer – no lands, wealth or armies. But his love for Ellie grows soul-deep and undeniable. With her, Donal finds his true home and learns to trust his heart as well as his senses.

My muse for Donal is Phillip Winchester as “Crusoe” – especially this picture. It captures Donal’s intensity.  How would you like to have those eyes riveted on you, demanding answers…or kisses or…um, I forgot what I was saying.

SALE! Get HIGHLAND HEALER for $2.99

To celebrate the release of my sizzling new Scottish romance, HIGHLAND SEER (Highland Talents #2) on Kindle, HIGHLAND HEALER (Highland Talents #1) is now on sale for $2.99!  Get them both and enjoy action, adventure and  romance in the highlands of Scotland this weekend!

HIGHLAND HEALER

HIGHLAND SEER

Six Sentence Sunday Snippet #20

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Revisions are done on the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer!  I sent them back to my editor on Friday, so I’m hopeful that Highland Seer gets into the queue for a fall release, and that I have a new cover to debut soon.

In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Highland Seer. This follows soon after last week’s snippet.  Enjoy!

The Lathans have found a clan in trouble.  There aren’t many fighting-age men left, and no one to train the younger lads.  Donal is determined to find a solution to this problem, but he’s got his work cut out for him.  The half-trained young man who is as close to a master of arms as the MacKyrie’s have finds Donal and Bram working with the  younger lads and takes offense.  Donal challenges him to show his stuff, but Micheil isn’t inclined to treat it as a demonstration.

Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!

Micheil growled an oath and shoved through the crowd into the circle.  “They’re too young to take up fighting,” he argued.  “No one would accost them.”

“Were those lads on the whisky wagon too young to be waving their dirks at brigands armed with claymores, then?”

That stopped Micheil in his tracks.  He drew his weapon.

Donal grinned.  “That’s better.  Let’s dance, shall we?”

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The Sunday Snippet group is on Facebook!  Click on the banner at the top of this post to find the links to the other authors participating.

Highland Healer is now available in both print and ebook formats from Amazon,  The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble and other retailers.  Highland Seer will be released later this year.

Six Sentence Sunday Snippet #19

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I’m so excited!  I signed the contract last week for the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer!  This past week I worked on revisions, which I plan to return to my editor in the next two or three days so that Highland Seer can get into the queue for a fall release.

The Lathans have found a clan in trouble.  There aren’t many fighting-age men left, and no one to train the younger lads.  Donal is determined to find a solution to this problem, but he’s got his work cut out for him.

Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!

Donal had collected sticks and wooden swords lying about in the dirt.  He gave one to each lad, paired each lad with another, then ordered, “Show me what ye can do.”

Their enthusiasm for sparring didn’t surprise him, but their lack of skill did.

“Do ye think to defend yerselves or yer mates like that?”

The lads stopped what they were doing and stared at him, wide-eyed.  “Aye,” a brave one answered him.  “We’ll defend our clan to the death.”

“Then die ye will, laddie, unless ye learn how to fight.”

 

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Highland Healer is now available in both print and ebook formats from Amazon,  The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble and other retailers.  Highland Seer will be released later this year.

Six Sentence Sunday Snippet #18 – Whisky

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I signed the contract this week for the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer.  So that’s where today’s snippet is from.  

The Lathans have rescued old men and lads who were attacked by bandits bent on stealing their wagons loaded with kegs of whisky.  Returning the wounded MacKyries home to be cared for, the Lathans are angry that their  laird would send his clansmen out so poorly guarded and with bounty guaranteed to draw thieves.

Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!

“Can we be sure of our welcome here?” Jamie asked quietly.

“We’re bringin’ home their whisky and their menfolk,” Donal groused.   “The laird’s gratitude had better include answering a few questions, like why we’re havin’ to bring home his wounded.”  At Jamie’s raised eyebrow, he continued.  “Once they ken how charming we are, there shouldna be any problems.”

Jamie grinned and shook his head.

Behind him, Bram choked back a laugh and began coughing.

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Highland Healer is now available in both print and ebook formats from Amazon,  The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble and other retailers.  Highland Seer will be released later this year.

Six Sentence Sunday Snippet #17 – Visitors

I enjoyed a visit from a long-time friend this week, so this snippet is about a visitor Toran receives – a new friend and ally. As the old saying goes, there’s good news and bad news…

Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday!

Toran stood with fists on hips as Angus approached. “What brings ye?” Toran asked. “Is there more trouble?”  

“Aye,” Angus answered. “And good news, as well.”  He dismounted and handed the reins to one of the lads who stood by.

Highland Healer is now available in both print and ebook formats from Amazon,  The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble and other retailers.  

Six Sentence Sunday #16 – Sunday Snippets

This week, I spoke on a panel about writing love stories and love scenes at the Writers Guild of Texas in Austin with Tracy Wolff, Mari Mancusi, and Shawnna Perigo.  It was so much fun, I’ve decided to share a bit of a love scene here today.

Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday!

He had to prove to her that he was serious about a future with her. “To become my wife and the lady of my clan.”

“What?”

Toran glanced quickly around, but no one else seemed to have heard her startled exclamation.

“There will be time, lass.  All ye need.  And when ye find that ye are ready, we will marry.”

Highland Healer is now available in both print and ebook formats from Amazon,  The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble and other retailers.