Over Her Head: preview of a new #LeiCrimeKW novella



LeiCrime-50titles

May 12 is the launch date for 11 new titles in the Lei Crime Kindle World—new stories by professional authors in the fictional universe of Lei Crime, the creation of bestselling author Toby Neal.

One of those titles is mine: Echoes, featuring my Lei Crime character, FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm. You will find it on Amazon as of May 12.

To get you excited about the new books, I will preview a bunch of them over the next several days. Today we have Shawn McGuire’s third Lei Crime Kindle World title, Over Her Head, which happens to feature the main character, Lei Texeira

Let Shawn know what you think of her preview in the Comments. 

“I know I’ve been tough on you these last couple of weeks,” she said.

Lieutenant Lani Kaapana was Gemi’s second FTO. The first had been an officer who was close to retirement and not interested in working all that hard anymore. He taught Gemi some things, but most of what she had learned in the month with him she had either figured out on her own or learned by asking other officers. Now that she thought about it, maybe that hadn’t been so bad.

“You have been tough on me,” Gemi agreed, “but I appreciate your approach. I think you know that I’m not one to take the easy route.”

“You’re going to be a fine officer,” the lieutenant said. “I’ve seen plenty of trainees come through this department over the years, only a handful of them have truly impressed me with their potential. You’re at the very top of that list.” She held out her hand to Gemi. “Don’t let me down.”

For a heartbeat, Gemi was moved by these words, but she knew showing emotion would negate everything the officer had just said. Instead, she shook her hand and thanked her once again.

“Your formal training is done,” Lieutenant Kaapana announced, “but don’t hesitate to come to me if you have questions or need help.”

“Thank you, ma’am. I’ll keep that in mind.”

Crossing the parking lot, Gemi smiled, feeling a sense of pride at a job well done. She glanced at the spot where a lightbar would go as she climbed into her Renegade and started for her townhouse southwest of Kahului. Today was a big deal, she really should celebrate. There were only two people she would consider partying with, her friend Consuelo or her sister Ashlyn. Consuelo was finishing her senior year with a couple of summer classes at Kahului College and had a big test tomorrow. She couldn’t bother her. Ashlyn? That was touch and go. Ashlyn hadn’t been happy when Gemi dropped out of nursing school. She’d been even less happy about Gemi’s decision to enter the police academy.

Gemi had to admit, if only to herself, that writing traffic tickets and chasing down car part thieves wasn’t the exciting life she’d hoped it would be. On the positive side, she knew her actions were making the streets of Kahului safer. She would put in her time, however much time that meant, and be the best patrol officer she could possibly be, until she could move up the ranks. Her sights were set on becoming a detective.

Her cell phone rang, and Detective Lei Texeira’s number displayed on the screen. Gemi pulled into the nearest parking lot.

“I hear you’re officially done being a trainee,” Lei said.

“You heard right,” Gemi said. “Not a bad day, either. Busted Ozzie Lee on vandalism and drug charges, then said thank you and goodbye to my FTO. Now, I’m on the way home and will probably celebrate with a long run and maybe a big piece of chocolate cake.”

“You really know how to live the high life. Since you have no other plans, how about you meet me for dinner? We’ll celebrate together.”

The women had known each other for more than a year. Gemi considered the detective to be a friend and mentor. But they had never once socialized together.

“Why do I think you don’t really want to take me out to celebrate?” Gemi asked. “What’s going on, Lei?”

“Meet me at the Paia Fish Market,” Lei said. “I’ll tell you there.”

“You can’t even give me a hint?”

“Fine. You’re going to like it.”

Over Her HeadAbout Over Her Head

When women go missing in Maui, the island’s newest rookie cop is on the job.

One year ago, after rescuing her abducted sister, Gemi Kittredge turned in her college textbooks for a Maui County Police Department uniform. Now, the last thing Gemi expects is a phone call from her friend and mentor, Detective Lei Texeira.

Young women are disappearing and they suspect the Yakuza are involved. Lei doesn’t have to ask twice if Gemi is willing to go undercover to find them; taking down the organized crime group is the reason Gemi became a cop, after all. But when Gemi ends up in the Yakuza’s clutches, she’ll need her entire arsenal—badge, instincts, and mixed martial arts training—to get everyone out safe.

Over Her Head takes place after Dark Lava, book 7 in the Lei Crime series.

About the author

Fantasy and suspense author Shawn McGuire started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid. She couldn’t wait for the next installment to come out so wrote her own. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to tell a tale is as strong now as it was then.

She grew up in the beautiful Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota, called the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!) home for many years, and now lives in Colorado where she loves to read, craft, cook and bake, and spend time in the spectacular Rocky Mountains. You can learn more about Shawn’s work on her website, www.Shawn-McGuire.com.

What is writing style? Guest post by Roger Eschbacher



What is writing style? It’s an elusive topic, in many ways.

To help me chase down the essence of writing style, I’ve called upon some author friends for their opinions. First, we have Roger Escbacher, author of a number of middle-grade books, such as the Leonard the Great series,  Dragonfriend and Giantkiller, middle-grade/young adult fantasy adventure stories set in the time of King Arthur, as well as Undrastormur: A Viking Fantasy Adventure.

140d6-roger-portrait-small_dsc00275editRoger Eschbacher is also the author of two children’s books: Road Trip, and Nonsense! He Yelled, both for Dial Books. He is also a professional television animation writer who’s worked for Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, The Hub, and Cartoon Network. His blog is The Novel Project, and his Twitter handle is@RogerEschbacher.

How would you describe your own writing style?

I would describe my writing style as cinematic. My goal is to describe the action, world and characters in my book in such a way that readers have a movie playing in their head as they read along. I think this comes from two places, the first being that I’m a television animation writer. In animation, one has to fully describe what is happening so that the artists can animate it. Detailed descriptions are required in my “day job.” Second, as a reader I’ve always preferred books written in that style. I love getting lost in the “brain movie” when I’m reading for pleasure. In general, SF/fantasy books tend to be written this way, which is probably why I read this genre almost exclusively.

Are there any authors whose style you admire? Do you try to emulate them?

Dragonfriend

I admire the writing styles of Neil Gaiman, J.R.R.Tolkien, Douglas Adams, J.K. Rowling, and Rick Riordan, to name a few. All of these folks are quite “cinematic” so I suppose that’s the reason why. Of those four, I’d say Tolkien would be the strongest influence. I love his command of the epic tale so much that I find myself rereading LOTR and The Hobbit every couple of years. Oddly enough, I try not to emulate him too closely for fear of coming off as a low-grade copy of a true master.

Are there authors whose writing style you dislike?

Oh, yes.

How important is your writing style to you? Are you happy with your style, or are there aspects of it you try to change during rewriting or editing?

My writing style is very important to me and I am happy with it for the reasons listed above. When I’m editing, I do my best to make the manuscript an exciting and easy read. My goal is to produce a page-turner — something that flows. I want readers to fly through the book and not get knocked off course by speed bumps and, as Elmore Leonard says, “the parts that readers tend to skip.”

How can readers identify your writing style? Are there particular words or kinds of words that you tend to favour? Sentence structures? Or is it more in the story, the pacing or the characters?

UndrastormurFor me, it’s all about story, pacing, and characters. Natural-sounding dialogue is important, too. I hope that readers would describe my style as fast-paced and exciting.

Do you think your genre imposes certain restrictions on writing style?

Not really. I tend to write “quest-y” stories and for me that’s liberating in that everyone expects that the hero and his friends will go somewhere, do a lot of stuff along the way, almost get killed but survive and make it home. The challenge is to tell a quest tale in a way that follows the expected rules but also continues to surprise the reader.

Do you think your audience responds to your writing style, consciously or unconsciously?

 Yes, I do. My favorite reader compliment on Dragonfriend was from a kid who said, “I can totally see this as a movie.” I smile every time I think of that.

How important do you think writing style is to an author’s commercial success?

I honestly don’t know the answer to this one.Giantkiller

Thank you very much, Roger.

Readers, let Roger and me know what you think. How important is a writer’s style? What do you like? What do you wish authors would stop doing? And does an author’s writing style affect your decision to buy or recommend a book?

A look back at a tough year



To many, 2016 has been a horrible year. The war in Syria, the loss of refugees from that conflict and others, the record number of celebrity passings, record homicide numbers in my home town, Brexit, the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. Presidency … I won’t go on. It’s too painful.

For me, it’s been a turbulent year, too. I broke my knee in May and went through months of intensive physiotherapy and exercise to get back the range of motion and strength I needed for my two-week whitewater canoeing trip. My son had appendicitis, my other son had some issues with school and work.

In the fall, I came down with a wicked case of pinkeye. There were more problems in this single year than in many that I can recall.

On the other hand, there were some “ups,” as well.

  • I published three books this year:
    • IMG_0020.jpgUnder the Nazi Heel, Book 2 in my Walking Out of War trilogy based on the World War 2 experiences of my father-in-law, Maurice Bury.
      It won Second Prize in the East Texas Writers Guild 2016 Awards for nonfiction/memoir.
    • The Wife Line, a Sydney Rye Kindle World book that features my spy-thriller characters, Van Freeman and Earl LeBrun.
    • Dead Man Lying, my third Lei Crime Kindle World title, featuring my FBI Special Agent character, Vanessa Storm. It won First Place in the 2016 East Texas Writers Guild Mystery Awards.WifeLine-final-small
  • I edited three very strong books by independent authors:
  • I participated in some group publishing efforts along with other members of BestSelling Reads, an authors’ group that cross-promotes members.
  • New members joined Independent Authors International, a collaborative publishing venture where members share skills to provide all the functions of a full, commercial publishing company.
  • PaddlersI canoed 325 kilometres down the Missinaibi and Moose Rivers in northern Ontario to Moose Factory on James Bay, and capsized only once.
  • I visited the Finger Lakes in New York, and met some very nice, interesting people and drank some excellent wine.
  • I crafted an outline for The Triumph of the Sky, the follow-up to my first full-length novel, The Bones of the Earth.
  • I outlined a new Lei Crime novel featuring Special Agent Vanessa Storm: Echo of a Crime, and have so far written about half of it.
  • And I came up with a concept for a new Sydney Rye Kindle World novel which will feature Van and LeBrun.

So 2016 has been a year with ups and downs, and now that I look at it, for me at least, there were more good points than bad. And for the family, too.

But for the world, it’s been a tough year. For Aleppo and the rest of Syria, for Iraq, for France, Belgium and the U.K., for Japan, Italy and Fort McMurray. For the U.S., 2017 is going to be … interesting politically.

I wish you all a healthy, happy, loving, peaceful and plentiful 2017.

What book reviewers want: An interview with Janie Felix



bookstack

Once again this week, Written Words turns the tables on the book reviewers by asking them questions. In this instalment, Janie Felix agreed to let us in on the secrets of book reviewing.

What genres do you review?

I review most all genres — whatever I read, because I find it helpful when I read others reviews.

I like mystery/police/ action genres.  They challenge my mind, hold my interest and allow for escape from normal life.  I like some romance, but not ” bodice ripper” types.  I like reality in romances, not necessarily happily ever after … realism.  I enjoy some sci-fi if it is relatable.

What do you look for in a book that you review?

What I look for in books is believable character development by the author.  I like surprise twists.  I also look for good beta reading (I really hate misspelled words, poor grammar and bad syntax.)  When I find an author whose style I enjoy, I veraciously read their books.

What is the worst mistake that an author can make in a book?

The worst mistake and author can make: boring, long convoluted explanations by a character.  And shabby proofreaders.

What is the worst mistake in your opinion that an author can make when trying to promote a book?

Promoting a book can be tricky. I’m not sure I dislike most book promotions. I really LIKE when an author of e-books offer their first one free. Very often if I like their style or characters, I will continue to follow them and buy more just by the “credit ” of their name alone.

Which is more important to you: the plot/story, characters, or the writer’s style?

Characterization is probably the most important part of a book for me.  If the characters become real, you can put them in most any plot and they survive.  ‘Course that all goes back to the author. So it is circular.

Name a classic book in the genre you favour most that you think today’s writers should aspire to equal.

The Stand is a book with great characters the writers can aspire to.

Desert island question: name three record albums you would take with you if you were stranded on the island from Lost (where they had vinyl records and diamond-stylus record players).

Albums: David Brubeck’s Take Five,  the 1812 Overture or any Tchaikovsky work and anything by James Taylor.

All about Janie

 IMG_1051Janie has been married for 52 years to her best friend, Gary. She is a mom of four a grandmom of seven, a Wiccan High Priestess, a clinical herbalist and an avid reader.  She is 72 years young and loves to quilt, preserve what her husband grows and teach others about her knowledge of Wicca and herbs. 

Sydney Rye Kindle World Week: Fatal Interest by Julie Gilbert



Day 5 of Sydney Rye Kindle World Week

I’m very excited to be a part of the launch of the Sydney Rye Kindle World has  launched. As an extended St. Paddy’s Day present from me to you, valued readers, Written Words presents excerpts from each of the seven novellas in the project.

In today’s installment from Fatal Interest, Julie Gilbert takes Sydney and her gigantic dog Blue into the world of the Ghost Girl.

FatalInterestWO

I cursed, or at least I tried to. I think it came out as fudge as my brain was still working off Nadia’s child-friendly list. Kicking the door so I wouldn’t break my hand, I shouted for Carly to open the door. Hearing the sound of disengaging locks, I stopped kicking the door and waited.

Carly opened the door and waved me in.

“She’s not here,” she said wearily. “I told her not go, but she doesn’t listen to me. I mean it’s like she’s not even the same person anymore. She’s so moody and withdrawn.”

“Where is she this time?” I demanded.

“She snuck off with David Richter,” said a voice from behind me.

Whirling, I saw Bethany Westcott in the threshold. Her blond hair looked like she’d recently showered. Her blue eyes held plenty of anger, but I could tell she was calculating whether or not she wanted to give me more details.

“Where did they go?” I asked. After waiting an appropriate interval for her to answer, I continued, “I need to find her if I’m going to write her up for this.”

“Don’t! She can’t afford another report.” Carly looked genuinely upset. “Please. She’ll come out of this funk eventually. I know it.”

The protest had pulled my gaze to Carly, but I shifted my attention back to Bethany. She still looked uncertain. I thought the idea of getting Andrea into trouble might appeal, but then it occurred to me that if she was with David Richter, I’d have to write him up too. That must be the source of Bethany’s hesitation, her high school crush.

“I don’t have to write them up,” I said, changing my approach. “But I do need to find them.”

“I think they’re headed to the woods,” Bethany admitted, after another lengthy pause. She sniffed. “I don’t know what he sees in her. She’s a geek. He’s way out of her league.”

“You’re just jealous David didn’t ask you to the woods,” Carly taunted.

I speared the girl with a sharp look. My presence was the only thing preventing Bethany from lashing out with more than words.

The Westcott girl mentally murdered Carly a few times.

“Thank you for your help, Bethany. Please return to your room.” I wanted her gone and fast.

Her expression darkened at being dismissed, but she finally stomped back to her room and slammed the door.

Turning back to Carly, I gave her my best disapproving look. She lowered her head like a puppy waiting to be scolded.

“You shouldn’t provoke people like that.”

“I know, but she needs to be knocked off her high horse sometimes.”

The expression caused my eyebrows to lift. It sounded like something my grandmother would say. Given Carly’s wisplike figure, I decided to talk some sense into her.

“A lot of people in life are going to require similar correction, but it’s usually best not to take the direct approach with them. They tend to come with large wallets, long memories, and a vindictive streak that can come back to bite you later.”

What’s Fatal Interest about?

Sydney Rye doesn’t believe in ghosts … until she meets one.

Without warning, the Ghost Girl appears in her room and tells her to expect a phone call. Despite the strangest referral ever, Sydney accepts what appears to be a simple case of high class mischief at an exclusive boarding school.

The Head Mistress can’t tell her much, but she fears one of the students might be in danger. Rooms are being searched seemingly at random, and the list of potential targets stretches to nearly everybody. Still, compared to Sydney’s other cases, this one has all the markings of an open/shut one for her and Blue.

Looks can be deceiving.

Somebody has a keen interest in this small, posh school, and it’s up to Sydney and Blue to expose the bad guys before that interest turns fatal.

About the author

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

Julie Gilbert teaches high school chemistry and writes books in a wide range of genres, including Young Adult science fiction, Children’s, fantasy, poetry, Christian mystery, mystery/suspense, mystery/thriller, and traditional science fiction. She is also a huge fan of Star Wars, the Yankees, the Giants and candy.

Before publishing Fatal Interest, Julie published four volumes in the Lei Crime Kindle World:

 

Learn more about Julie at her

And follow her on Twitter: @authorgilbert.

What are Kindle Worlds?

Sydney Rye Kindle World WeekKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Sydney Rye Kindle World is based on the characters and situations created by bestselling author Emily Kimelman.

The Sydney Rye series of vigilante mysteries feature a strong female lead and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, a dash of sex and don’t mind a little salty language. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery with tons of action that will keep you reading late into the night!

How to find funds for your novel: Guest post by Roger Eschbacher



Finding the funds to cover editing, design and production of a book is a challenge every independent author must work out. This week, the award-winning Roger Eschbacher describes his solution.

This post originally appeared on the old Scott’s Written Words blog.

As just about any “indie” author will admit one of the biggest knocks against our tribe is that often self-published books are rife with errors (punctuation, grammar, typos, continuity problems, etc.). We know how jarring it can be to run across a typo in a traditionally published book, so imagine how distracting it can be to be poked in the eye by dozens of them.

Why does this happen? To be blunt, it’s because the author didn’t have the book properly edited. And by “properly,” I mean professionally. No matter how good at catching errors you think you might be, you’ll never get them all. No matter how good you might think your beta reader/proofreader friends are at finding embarrassing mistakes in your text or story, there are always more hiding in your manuscript. Always.

I can verify this through my own experience. I can’t tell you how many “final” reads I did on Dragonfriend, my 2013 self-published MG fantasy novel. I’d go through it, find and fix a bunch of errors, only to go back to the beginning for one last look and find even more. I realized I needed professional help. I needed a paid editor with a trained eye to go through my manuscript and find the mistakes that would embarrass me if they ever made it out of my computer and into the wild.

What does any of this have to do with finding funds for my novel?

Well…having come to the realization that I was in over my head as far as editing goes, I started looking around for someone to help me out. Guess what? Editors can be expensive! My manuscript was in the 75,000-word range, and quotes for an edit on a book that size ran from the upper hundreds to the low thousands on the sites I checked. Google “editing, novel, proofreading” yourself and be prepared for your jaw to drop to the floor. This is not a knock against the editors, by the way; what they do is very time- and labor-intensive (= expensive).

So what was I going to do? I knew I had to get my book properly edited, but I also knew I wasn’t exactly dripping with cash. I was frozen in place until I could scrape together enough funds for a professional editor. Frozen, that is, until I ran across Kickstarter.

How Kickstarter works

Kickstarter.com is a site that exists solely for raising funds for “the arts.” Based on the artist/patron model of old, Kickstarter provides a platform where you can raise money from friends, family, and total strangers without having to beg in person. You simply set up an account and direct people to it with a “Hey, if you’re interested in backing my book project…” Amazingly, to me anyway, a lot of folks were willing to pitch in and help me out.

If you head over to the site, you’ll find that everyone from filmmakers to graphic artists to greeting card makers have a project going on. Oh, and authors too.

Here’s how it works. You sign up for an account, then pitch your project to the Kickstarter folks. My “project” was to raise enough money to have my book professionally edited and pay for its setup (cover design, proof copies, Createspace Pro Plan, etc.). Frankly, I think this step is included to make sure that only “creatives” get in the door. They’re very specific about not accepting charity or non-arty business projects. This site is about raising funds for projects with artistic content.

Thankfully, my project was approved and I set about trying to determine the amount of funding I would need. Having priced out the costs listed above (I picked an editor quote somewhere in the middle of the pack) and factoring in Kickstarter’s five percent account fee, I determined I’d need about $2,100.00 to properly prepare Dragonfriend for publication. Kickstarter recommends that you research your costs and pick a sum that is very close to the amount of funds you will actually need. They say that an appropriately priced project is more likely to succeed, and I think that makes sense.

Next, you determine how long you want the project to go. The allowable range is between 30 and 90 days. Kickstarter recommends 30 days, advising that if a project is going to be funded, it’ll usually happen within that period of time. I wish I had listened to them. I chose 45 days, only to have my project achieve full funding at around day 25. You have to wait for the project to play itself out before Kickstarter releases the funds, so I found myself cooling my heels for the balance of time left in the project. Another reason not to inflate your request is that if you don’t reach your funding goal within the allotted time, the project fails and no one (yourself or Kickstarter) gets any money. The backers who pledged prior to fail won’t be charged either, which is good, but you obviously don’t want to fail. In short, determine a reasonable goal and don’t be greedy!

Next, you create your backer “rewards,” attaching fun things like bookmarks, signed copies, and future character naming rights to various donation price points. They encourage you to be inventive, so in addition to those traditional rewards, I added stuff like writing a “fake” unmasking scene from the Scooby Doo series I write on. The backer became the villain and was able to pick the name of their evil alter-ego in a customized script. Sure it’s silly, but three backers ended up receiving scenes thanks to some very generous donations.

Then you press the “launch project” button and get the word out that you’re trying to raise money for a worthy project—asking folks to become true patrons of the arts. I ended up raising $2,205.00, which I promptly put into play by hiring an editor. I chose Iguana Proofreading and opted for their complete package of a manuscript critique and proofreading.

I have nothing but good things to say about my Kickstarter experience. It provided the funds I needed to launch my book. Without it, I’d probably still be going through the manuscript and finding error after error after error…

What about you? Do you have any experience with Kickstarter or tips on hiring a pro editor? Please share them in the comments.

c114e-undrastormur2bcoverA native of St. Louis, Missouri, Roger Eschbacher lives in Los Angeles, California, where he’s worked as a writer/actor for over 30 years. These days he works primarily as a TV animation writer. He has written for shows you’ve heard of like SCOOBY DOO: MYSTERY INCORPORATED, WABBIT, and LITTLEST PET SHOP and a few you haven’t. Along the way he managed to get nominated for an Emmy. He’s the author of the middle-grade fantasy adventure novel Dragonfriend (winner of a 2012 BRAG Medallion) and its sequel Giantkiller. Roger’s most recent work is UNDRASTORMUR: A Viking Tale of Troublesome Trolls, a novelette available on Amazon. He’s also written two children’s picture books, “Road Trip”, and “Nonsense! He Yelled,” both for Penguin. 

For a list of all of , please visit Roger’s LinkedIn profile page.

Visit Roger’s

New cover: Dark Clouds



New cover Dark Clouds

I have updated Dark Clouds, Part 1: The Mandrake Ruse, complete with a new cover. I’m excited about it. I have to thank Quebec graphic designer Daniel Dufour for invaluable advice on typography and colours.

Original cover - Dark CloudsThe original cover wasn’t bad. I took the photograph in Venice, and while it’s a good image of dark clouds, when cropped and blown up to an image usable as a cover, the resolution was too low. Dots and artefacts were visible.

original Photo-clouds over Venice

In designing a new cover for my latest story, Palm Trees & Snowflakes (a Lei Crime short story), I bought some credits from a stock photo agency, and I had a few left over. So I found a really good image and reformatted the cover of Dark Clouds.

I also took the opportunity to revise the text itself. I took to heart a review that claimed there were some grammatical errors. I didn’t find any actual grammatical errors, but there were some typographical issues.

It’s interesting—I don’t think I’m the only writer who cringes over some of the sentences I wrote after a few years. I found some awkward or confusing passages in Dark Clouds, and fixed them. I then went on to fix up the second part of Dark Clouds: What Made Me Love You?, along with a new cover for it, too.

So let me know what you think. And if you want to buy a new copy, you can find it on:

Don’t miss another update

Sign up to get this blog in your email every week and I’ll give you a FREE copy of the new and improved Dark Clouds: The Mandrake Ruse. Just fill in the mini-form at the top right of this blog, click enter, and you’re done.

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What do authors like about writing? Three very different bestsellers spill



You would find it hard to find three excellent writers who are more different than Seb Kirby, Lisa Jay Davis and Charity Parkerson. Seb writes thrillers and science fiction; Lisa published a bestselling memoir of her time as an event producer in Hollywood; and Charity writes erotica, romance and fantasy.

But you’ll be surprised at the things they agree on.

Which element of a book is most important to you as a writer:

  • plot
  • characterization
  • setting
  • getting the little details right, such as the weapons your characters use, the science involved, or the historical aspects of the time period your book is set in
  • action
  • sex, or
  • other?

Charity Parkerson: Since I write erotica and spicy romance, I have to say the sex.

SebKirbyLargerSeb Kirby: The first two interest me most. Story arc and character arc and how these interact is something that I’m working hard at developing in my writing. Think Walter White in Breaking Bad as a supreme example of how this is done well. In addition to that I think that giving a story a real sense of place is very important. Much of the rest flows from this.

Lisa Jey Davis: Considering I have only written non-fiction thus, far, I’ll have to answer from that perspective… I’d have to say characterization and humor.

What part of writing do you spend the most time on: research, writing, editing, making coffee or cleaning your work space?

Charity Parkerson: Writing. I’m focused.

Seb Kirby: What’s missing here is promotion. I spend about as much time on that as I do on writing. Research comes lower down the list, but when that involves traveling to new places, my interest spikes.

Lisa Jey Davis: Editing number 1, writing number 2.

Which of these do you enjoy most?

Charity Parkerson: Making coffee, lol.CharityParketon2015

Seb Kirby: Of course, it’s the writing. In the end it’s what makes the whole thing tick.

Lisa Jey Davis: Writing.

What do you wish you had to do less?

Charity Parkerson: Cleaning.

Seb Kirby: Books that don’t get promoted don’t get read. So, there is little point in writing them. Which means that every author needs to be a promoter. That can be fun and you can meet some wonderful people. But the real currency is in the writing. So, less promotion and more time for writing would be top of my list.

Lisa Jey Davis: Editing.

What part of writing or publishing do you think you could help other writers with?

Charity Parkerson: I’m pretty good at marketing.

Seb Kirby: I’ve been self-published now since December 2010. In this digital world we now live in, that’s equivalent to saying sometime in the Cretaceous Period. Which is a way of saying that I think I could help best with advice on self-publishing. How we all write, well, I think much of that is down to personal choice.

Lisa Jey Davis: Marketing! Lol.LisaJey2

Which of your books or other works are you personally happiest with? Why?

Charity Parkerson: Every time I start a new book, I’m happier with it than any other. It’s like a new love affair.

Seb Kirby: Like most authors, it has to be the most recent one! I guess the hope is that you learn a little more with each book you write. The reality, perhaps, is that you never know whether that might be the last. So, the answer here is Each Day I Wake. It’s my first psychological thriller. I found the challenge of getting deeper into the mind of my main character was really stimulating.

Lisa Jey Davis: My memoir, Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood: My Zany Years Spent Working in Tinsel Town. It’s a book that people read, as opposed to my other book, Ahhhhhh … Haaaaaa Moments With Ms. Cheevious: A Yoga Routine for All Levels, which is primarily a guide to  following along to photos.

Thank you all!

About these bestselling authors

Charity Parkerson is an award-winning and multi-published author with Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Indie Publishing House LLC, and Punk & Sissy Publications. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters.

  • 2015 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
  • Winner of 2, 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards
  • 2015 RWA Passionate Plume Award Finalist
  • 2013 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
  • 2013 Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner
  • 2012 ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance
  • Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath

You can find Charity Parkerson online

Seb Kirby is the author of the James Blake Thriller series (Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More), the Raymond Bridges sci fi thriller series (Double Bind) and now the psychological thriller Each Day I Wake. An avid reader from an early age—his grandfather ran a mobile lending library in Birmingham – he was hooked from the first moment he discovered the treasure trove of books left to his parents. He was a university academic for many years, latterly at University of Liverpool. Now, as a full-time writer, his goal is to add to the magic of the wonderful words and stories he discovered back then. He lives in the Wirral, UK

Seb Kirby’s books:

Find Seb Kirby online:

 

Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood

Humourous memoir by Lisa Jey Davis

Lisa Jey Davis is an award-winning writer, an author, and a former television production talent manager who worked with musicians, fashionistas, celebrities and other characters for shows produced by MTV, CBS, the NFL and many more. She is the editor in [Mis]Chief at MsCheevious.com where she “brings the funny” about life and love. Also a fitness and health nut, Lisa Jey has made appearances on The Doctors TV show and the CW in Los Angeles (among others), talking women’s health issues. She is a health and fitness contributor for LiveStrong.com and blogs for the Huffington Post. Lisa Jey is also a certified Pilates instructor, Lagree Method trainer and yoga instructor. When she is not speaking at seminars and events, she offers personal fitness and weight management sessions and teaches fitness classes around the Los Angeles area. Lisa Jey resides in Santa Monica and enjoys every single moment.

Lisa Jey’s books:

Ms. Cheevious in Hollywood: My Zany Years Spent Working in Tinsel Town

Ahhhhhh … Haaaaaa Moments With Ms. Cheevious: A Yoga Routine for All Levels

Follow Lisa Jey and her alter ego Ms. Cheevious:

Websites

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

What is style? An interview with Charity Parkerson



CharityParketon2015How important is writing style? And just what is it, anyway — what makes up an author’s style? Can an author truly be unique?

This week, Written Words has invited Charity Parkerson, author of paranormal romance and erotica, to tell us her thoughts on writer’s style. Read what she has to say, and then check out her work.

How would you describe your own writing style?

Erotic with a southern twist.

Are there any authors whose style you admire? Do you try to emulate them?

I really like Julie Garwood. She does a great job of mixing humor with suspense and since I’m hilarious (in my own mind) I try to add a bit of humor to my books, as well.

Are there authors whose writing style you dislike?

I love Jennifer Wilde and have read all of her books. However, I can’t stand her descriptive writing style. She can weave the most wonderful and engaging stories, but I find myself skipping over the three-page descriptions of someone’s dress.Parkerson-Assignment

How important is your writing style to you? Are you happy with your style, or are there aspects of it you try to change during rewriting or editing?

When I first started out, I had several people tell me that I would run into trouble with reviewers because my characters have southern accents. I refused to remove it, since my books are set in the South, and it made sense that their speech would reflect that. I have run into a couple of reviews that mention it, but for the most part readers have been fine with it, and I’m glad that I did not allow anyone to talk me out of writing my own voice out of my stories.

What are the important elements of your style? What are you trying to achieve?

In erotica, I think that one of the most important elements is the ability to create a scene that is relatable but is still hot. I want to paint a picture with words that the reader can see, hear, and taste as if they are there.

How can readers identify your writing style? Are there particular words or kinds of words that you tend to favour? Sentence structures? Or is it more in the story, the pacing or the characters?

My characters tend to be a little on the dark side. It’s rare that I write a perfect character. I want people to cheer for someone that they never thought they could.

Do you think your genre imposes certain restrictions on writing style?

I write in several genres, but I do think that erotica is the most restrictive. Most people would think that it is the least. However, several times I have sent a story to my editor believing that I’ve finished the world’s hottest erotic novel, only to learn it is classified as steamy romance. You’re expected to use words that shock people into letting down their natural prude filter.

Do you think your audience responds to your writing style, consciously or unconsciously?

I hope it’s an unconscious reaction to a great read. 😀

How important do you think writing style is to an author’s commercial success?

It’s very important if you also factor in who you are pitching yourself to.

Thank you, Charity.

Charity Parkerson is an amazingly prolific author published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Midnight Books, and Punk & Sissy Publications. She has won a number of awards, including the Reader’s Favorite Award in 2014 and 2015.

With over 50 titles published since 2011, she writes several series in fantasy, erotica, thriller and romance, and many of her books cross genre boundaries. She made the bestseller list with her book A Secure Heart. Her newest work, Crush, the fifth in her Hard Hit, is now available for pre-order from Amazon.

Visit her site at www.charityparkerson.com, where you can find her blogs, Punk & Sissy and the Sinner Blog.
 
You can like her at Facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson. You can follow her on Twitter @CharityParkerso.

Connecting with readers: DelSheree Gladden on writing



Bestselling author and fellow BestSelling Reads member DelSheree Gladden is a prolific writer who has published over 20 titles in nine different series. She was extremely generous to take some precious time from her daily routine, which includes lots of writing, working, teaching, yoga, taking her children to activities and leaving the rest of us in the dust. What does she like best and least about being an author? Read on.

DelSheree GladdenWhich element of fiction is most important to you as a writer?

In my own writing and what I like to read, characters are really important to me. A good character can carry even a mediocre story and a weak character can greatly diminish a fantastic plot. As human beings, we have a great need to connect with others. This applies to real life situations and carries over into fiction as well. When we watch a movie, even if it’s terrible, it’s two hours lost. For a book, the time commitment is greater, anywhere from ten hours to fifty hours if you’re reading The Wheel of Time. In order for a book to keep reader’s attention, they have to care about the character and what’s happening to them enough that they are willing to commit that much time to learning about them and their world.

What part of writing do you spend the most time on: research, writing, editing, making coffee or cleaning your work space?

I tend to be a very fast writer when we’re not selling a house or running our kids all over creation. Most first drafts take me a few months to write, barring everyday life and such. Editing is my least favorite part of writing and it’s usually the most time consuming part of my writing process. I send each book out to a team of beta readers, then I take their comments and make changes where needed, then the tedious part of line editing comes into play with several rounds back and forth, and finally I usually read the entire book aloud to catch any lingering typos.

Which of these do you enjoy most?

The actual task of writing is my favorite part of the entire process. I love diving into new characters, getting to know them, developing their backstory, and taking the journey with them. The way I write, I don’t usually have a detailed plan of the plot. At the most, I have scenes in my mind that will come into play and an idea of where the story and character will end up by the end of the story, but I’m open to any and all of those changes as the story progresses. There are plenty of times I’ve been surprised by twists and turns my books have taken and I love that!

What do you wish you had to do less?

Aside from editing, which I’ve already whined about, I’d have to say marketing. Marketing is hard. I spend a lot of time researching marketing tactics, implementing them, trying new things, and attempting to track what works and what doesn’t. That is tougher than you might think! There are so many books out there and getting noticed is not easy. It’s tough to strike a balance between marketing and writing, and every author needs to find what works for them.

Which of your books or other works are you personally happiest with? Why?

Invisible is closest to my heart. When I started writing that book, I just had a random thought about what it would be like if a child’s imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary. What if he was real and only this one little girl could see him, and then they grew up together and experienced life in this very unique way. I didn’t really have a firm goal or idea for where it would go, but by the end of the book I realized how much of my own personal experiences and story had been melded into that book. I grew up feeling very invisible in my own home and school experience. It’s not easy and sometimes you just want someone else to really “see” you and take notice, so I definitely identify with Mason in the story and I hope his experience helps others who feel the same way.

What part of writing or publishing do you think you could help other writers with?

I’ve recently starting teaching writing and publishing classes at my local community college and I love it. As shy as I was as a child and young adult, I never pictured myself standing in front of a group of people and sharing my experiences, but I’ve found that I really enjoy being able to help others writers navigate writing and the world of publishing. I’m certainly not the most experienced or successful writer, but I do feel like I have a talent for taking what I’ve learned and sharing it with others. There is so much to learn when you dive into the book world and I think it’s really important that more established writers reach out and help aspiring readers so it’s not so overwhelming.

Thank you, DelSheree!

DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually teaching yoga, coaching gymnastics, reading, painting, sewing, or cleaning teeth. Her works include Escaping Fate Series, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, The Aerling Series, Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series, Date Shark Series, and The Ghost Host.

Visit DelSheree’s links to check out all her books and to get updates and sneak peeks of new projects.

And follow her on Twitter @DelSheree.