- Accuracy & Research. If your fiction is set current day in a “real” small town, you’d better be committed to doing solid research. You also have to expect disconnects between your research and readers’ experiences. The trendy restaurant where your heroine hangs out may have gone belly up by the time your reader visits it on the written page. The woods where you have a crucial chase scene may be leveled to make way for a used car dealership. Streets may be renamed. Courthouses may be moved. The list is endless.
- Permission If you plan to include real institutions and commercial entities in your book, seek written permission if there’s any chance someone might think the mentions put them in an unflattering light. An example? Saying your heroine is poisoned at her favorite restaurant—even if the villain (who has no association with the eatery) slips in the poison while your heroine visits the ladies’ room. Still most restauranteurs would not want “poison” and their business name coupled in the same paragraph.
- Unintended Slurs. Okay, we’re talking fiction, but that doesn’t mean “real” police officers, sheriff’s deputies, bankers, preachers, developers, university presidents, or entrepreneurs who reside in your real burg won’t see the depiction of any unsavory characters in their professions or institutions as being a potential slap in the face.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
That's how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Sometimes you get a chance to give back and sometimes you get a chance to pay forward. I think it is an interesting difference.
Years ago I asked my writing mentor, a very successful writer with over a hundred novels in print and many appearances on many lists, what could I possibly do for him in thanks for all he had done for me?
"What you can do is pay forward. Help a writer who is anywhere on the path behind you." And I have done my best to pay forward whenever the opportunity arises.
It is also one of the reasons I tell the kind of stories that I do, whether in my military romantic suspense Night Stalkers series or in a whole different genre like my Dead Chef thrillers. The single unifying theme of all my writing is to Champion the Human Spirit. I always seek to write stories that uplift us and show some of the wonderful things I see in the world. One of the strongest themes for me has become honoring those who choose to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. I make no judgment as to what they are sent to do, but in turn am constantly awed by what they do in that service.
However, every now and then, I get a rare opportunity to pay back as well. For my writing mentor, who has long since become my friend, it is typically help with a particularly odd piece of software (I was a computer geek for many years).
But how could I ever pay back those who serve to protect our country and keep what peace is possible? The opportunity came up when I was invited into an anthology to help benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Eight authors and the publisher Sourcebooks have collaborated on an anthology and all proceeds are being donated to the WWP.
The Way of the Warrior is filled with a brand new Night Stalkers tale by myself, a Troubleshooters, Inc. tale by Suzanne Brockmann, and more by Julie Ann Walker, Catherine Mann, and others. Stories of survival, of teamwork, and always of finding true love. Please, buy a copy (8 novellas in 472pp also equals a great investment in reading pleasure as well) or donate directly to the WWP, I know of no worthier cause and am thrilled at this opportunity to pay back.
Available for pre-order now (May 5th release).
Monday, April 20, 2015
After twenty years in the Shadows, bound for a crime he didn’t commit, Rhun is past caring about anyone but himself. The plan: Seduce the sexy witch, steal her powers, break the magical leash to her, and then be on his merry way. But when a heinous betrayal in the ranks of the witches forces Merle and Rhun to work even closer together, Rhun’s plan backfires – and the witch he meant to play gets under his skin. With his unbidden feelings for Merle vying with his need for freedom, he struggles with a bitter realization: Being a selfish bastard is a lot harder when love is involved.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Where I live, there are four stoplights and the first didn't arrive until the 1990s. Murders are rare, schools are small and gossip is a given.
But, there are definitely tradeoffs to living in the sticks. Shopping amounts to a dollar store and grocery store. Choices for dining out are: Mexican, pizza or burgers. Entertainment is slim to none. Everything else including movies, is a thirty minute drive.
Friday, April 17, 2015
I hope for a lot of things in life. I hope that my books will do well and people will buy and like them. I hope my family will live long and prosper, and that we never have to face heartbreaking decisions or great tragedies. I hope somebody will read this blog post!
But hope isn't enough. If there are things you want, you also have to work for them. I believe in luck and fate, but I also know you can't just sit back and wait for things to happen - you have to put some effort into them and hope that good things will follow (because no matter how hard you work, sometimes it just doesn't pay off). After 2014 got off to a really bad start for me on both the personal and publishing side, I was almost ready to quit the whole writing/publishing thing. I didn't. For one thing I'm too stubborn (and being stubborn, or perhaps determined is a better word, is one key characteristic you need to make it as a published author). One quote I always use when asked what advice I'd give an aspiring author is from the comic scifi film Galaxy Quest, used by Commander Quincy Taggart: "Never give up, never surrender!" Sometimes that's the only thing that has kept me going when things were tough.
So rather than pinning my hopes on...well, hope..., I do what I can to ensure my hopes become reality. I write the best books that I can, and pay out for good editing and cover art on those I self publish. I make sure my family eat healthily, get some exercise and fresh air, and see the doctor whenever something doesn't seem right. We have back up plans and a bit of money put aside in case of emergencies. Aside from that, you can only hope because we can't control everything in life. But I don't rely on it to fulfill all my dreams.
What do you hope for?
In the meantime, I hope you'll check out my books at my website - psst, I have a new release on the 22nd, my YA dystopia Zombie Girl: Dead Awakened - and my EPIC finalist YA scifi adventure Gethyon is 25% off at CoffeeTimeRomance for the whole of April. Enjoy!