Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Creating the Write Routine

The last of 2014 was insanely busy and, of course, the holidays helped things get even wonkier. Now it’s time to get back into sync by creating a better routine.

A routine doesn’t have to be rigid or really scheduled. It’s really about building or rebuilding habits.
A daily routine can start out as a simple to do list. The list doesn’t have to be completed in any certain order or at specific times. It can be adjusted for those moments when something spontaneous pops up. (Just like our Row 80 goals)

Start with a list of five daily tasks. Everyone can accomplish a list of five things in a single day. Yeah, there are *those* days we’re lucky to get one, but that’s okay too. Back to our five things…..

Make your list of five tasks as they pop into your head. Now look at your list and highlight two that are most important. Those are your priorities. No matter what else gets thrown at you each day you are going to get at least one of those priority tasks accomplished.

After about two weeks, you’ll find yourself working your tasks in around whatever pops up in LIFE. Goals will be easier to meet and all will be back in sync.

There will still be times when everything gets whacked out of sync. As long as you can get back on the horse and restart you’ll be able to stick to a comfortable and easy to follow Write Routine.

Quarter One Goals
Establish a Write Routine
Write a minimum of 500 words a day
Write one article a week
Read a book a week

This week’s goals
Write daily
Write one article
Finish the book I’m reading

How about you? How do you establish or maintain a routine with writing and life?

Visit other Round of Words in 80 Days blog hoppers! To find out more about ROW80 click HERE

Saturday, January 17, 2015

8 Sentences from Outlaw Born

Getting back into the groove of a story after a long absence can be both stressful and exhilarating. You get to fall in love with the characters again and rebuild that bond with your story when you read prose and begin to reimagine the plot. I hope you enjoy this set of 8 from Outlaw born as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Orphaned young and raised by a preacher's family Benjamin Mason became a good man. He wanted to forget and erase his real father's legacy of blood and violence from their name for his own son.

Then tragedy struck. The law wouldn’t give him justice, so he would take it. After all, wasn’t he born to be this kind of man, an outlaw filled with hell and vengeance in his blood? Ben Mason is outlaw born.

8 Sentence Excerpt: 
Charlie watched Ben hold his shoulder as he set the sight in place and take aim. “Lieutenant, are you hit?”

Ben moved back, cord in hand. “I’m fine.” He let go of a deep breath as he nodded to the men. “Ready! Fire!”

He pulled the cord. There was a hiss as the powder ignited. A second later came the blast, sulfur and smoke filling the air. The ground shook under their feet. Ben shook his head to combat the ring in his ears from the explosion.

To read other great Weekend Writing Warrior excerpts go HERE

Stalk me on the web and find my other published novels here... 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Get Hooked on Tingle

Happy Wednesday! It's time for Book Hooks blog hop Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. The authors in this hop are showcasing one of their books or works in progress. Be sure to check out the list of participants links at the bottom of this post, and don't forget to leave a comment would love to hear from you!

Get hooked on Tingel 
Tingle is a collection of flash fiction with a darker edge of the paranormal, suspense, and horror genres to make a readers spine tingle and provoke the senses and emotions.

An excerpt from one of Tingle's stories The Rosary
 He took a deep breath to clear the distraction his focus on God as he continued to pray.

A soft giggle broke the silence; Father McKenna opened his eyes and fell backward with a startled breath. A young woman stood behind the stone cross her arms wrapped around it. Her petite fingers covering her mouth to stifle her laughter. 

Her eyes were dark sunken into her face as though it had been a hundred years since she last slept. McKenna could feel darkness in her. “The church is open for prayer. The rectory is private, my child.”

The girl, no thing… pushed from the stone, her tongue slowly moved across her bottom lip. “Child? Priest… you’re not even old enough to be my father.”

McKenna stilled as she stood over him. His eyes couldn’t focus on her face, dizziness fell on him.

She… it, bent to bring her face to his and sniffed at the air before him, then again at his neck. McKenna’s pulse jumped as she moved closer, her lip curled wickedly. “I smell fear on your skin. Is your faith not strong enough?”

                                                      Get your copy of Tingle

Visit other participating authors and get hooked on more books!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 The Year of the Book

It’s 2015 and I’m sitting here wondering where 2014 went so quickly. Also where is my hoverboard? Maybe I’ll get that later, but right now I’m reflecting on my New Year’s resolutions.

I’m not going to make any promises to go on a diet, start jogging in the mornings or stay away from chocolate. (That’s just insane! Chocolate and Lattes make the world go round.) No, I’m going to make 2015 the year of the book.

This year I’m pledging to read more. I’ve taken up three reading challenges this year. I’ve pledged to read 50 books for the Goodreads 2015 reading challenge, 36 books for the Library Reading challenge, and 12 books for the Historical Romance Reading Challenge.

It does seem like a lot of books doesn’t it? Thank goodness the challenges kind of cross over each other! :-)

Why sign up for a reading challenge at all? A reading challenge can introduce you to a new genre, a new author and inspire you to pick up a book instead of play couch potato. You can meet new people who have the same passions as you and most of all… It’s FUN! 

So I challenge you to find a reading challenge that fits you or even create one of your own and sign up. There are challenges for all genres and types of literature. So discover awesome books this year and join me in the Year of the Book!

The first book I’m reading this year is The City by Dean Koontz. What are you reading? Have you joined any reading challenges?

Want to join in on one of the ones I have? Just click here My 2015 Reading Challenges or click on the tab at the top of the page. You will find the links to those challenges. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

5 Ways to boost your word count…. Without cheating

Let's talk about 5 ways to boost your word count.... Without cheating. The daily word count needed to reach is 1,667 words. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount of words to write in an entire day. (Are they crazy? )  But there are days that life will interfere with our lofty noveling goals. Try one of these when your fingers start to slow.

1. Sprinting
Meet up with the other Wrimos in person or online and see who can write the most words in a set amount of time. Most sprints are 10-20 minutes long. This is great for a tweet-up. You'll be amazed at how many words you can get down with a couple hours of sprinting. Not to mention the fun! 

2. Long Lost Friend /Relative
If you feel your scene is dragging or you just can't get those words out. Try having your character run into an old friend or relative while they're out and about. Or even a phone call from them. You can add tons of words as they reminisce about old times or that Thanksgiving when Aunt Mable's cat ate the stuffing. Even if it's something you may edit out in the next draft, it will breathe some new life into your muse and pad that count! 

3. Disaster Strikes
A hurricane heading in, a freak F5 tornado, earthquake, flood, a 3-10 car pile up. Any one of these can add at least a couple of pages worth of wordiness. You have the before, during, and effects after that might even bring out some qualities you didn't know your characters had

4. Kill'em Kill'em All!
Let's face it. Death is wordy. Not matter how or who gets bumped off you've gotten at least 4 scenes from a corpse turning up. The death itself, the discovery, the aftermath, and the funeral, lots and lots of words. 

5. Use Your Senses
You have 5 senses taste, touch, scent, sight, sound. Every single environment your characters walk into, or crash into in some cases, holds each of these elements just waiting for you to detail them. A car crash could have the scent of smoke and gasoline in the air. They would see broken glass, dented and crushed cars, hear someone crying for help or a siren approaching, maybe a car horn. Taste blood from a gash, or if gas is thick in the air it will leave a taste on your tongue. They may feel the ache of injury or the rough edges or the broken plastic of the dash. Talk about filling the pages, just let your nose guide you.... Literally. 

Okay there you have it 5 ways to get wordy and pad that word count. Now who's ready to meet up in the 50k Winner’s Circle?  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Music to write by

Music can be a powerful tool for a writer. No, we can’t put it in the pages of our books, (unless it’s an audio book :) but, we can use it as a guide for how we write.

Some writers use music to help them keep focused and avoid some of the distractions that occur around us. It can also be used to set the writer’s mental mood as they write a scene or maybe as a pacing tool. Play some upbeat tunes and start typing a short paragraph or two. You’ll find that your fingers move to the rhythm of the music. A good upbeat playlist can really help the words fly onto paper.

It’s a combination of those things for me, but mostly a key to helping me set the scene. Soundtracks are fantastic for settings. Some of my favorites for action are the 3:10 to Yuma Soundtrack and the Tokyo Drift Soundtrack. There aren’t any lyrics to distract and plenty of intense tracks to help build tension and burst into the action of a scene.

I have a strange, eclectic collection of music from movie soundtracks, opera, oldies, big band, strings, flamenco, rock, pop, blues, jazz… you name it it’s probably in my collection somewhere. A wide musical taste just like a wide variety of genres in reading can be beneficial to a writer. Each musical genre brings a different picture to mind as much as any other sense.

If your ears have never had the experience of listening to Cajun zydeco, big band, Irish pipes and drums, or even a mix of country and rap. Head over to Youtube, Pandora or Spotify and try them out. A new kind of music can inspire the muse.

I’m jumping into my 8th NaNoWriMo in November writing a paranormal noir. I love the dark settings and the intensity of some noir scenes. I’ve got some music set aside to help the mood of those pages along. Tokyo Drift of course, but also Apocalyptica: Worlds Collide, Nickleback: Dark Horse, and some Korn.

Since this novel is also going to be set in 1940s Florida, I’ve created some oldies playlists. Songs by Glenn Miller, Dean Martin, Patti Page, Dave Pell, Duke Ellington and other fantastic musicians and performers of the time.

Music is a tool for us just as our favorite writing program or pen and notebook. It can inspire us and the characters we write adding a bit more life to them and their story.

Do you have a favorite playlist or album to write to? Do you tailor a music list just for the novel your writing or make just a general set that will get your muse dancing? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Old Lady Creeper's Meat Pies

“What do we do now? You told me nothing could go wrong and look what’s happened.” Kurt pushed and
shook the basement doors again. “We’ll just go in and get the ball, he said, nothing will happen, he said, the old lady isn’t even home, he said.”

Pete gave his friend a shove. “Shut up! It’s not my fault the wind blew the doors shut.” He gave the other boy another shove to the side. “Stop acting like a baby, they probably just need a good shot of elbow grease.”

Kurt scoffed, “Yeah, my sister can bench press more than you in weight class.”

Pete gave him an evil eye, then rubbed his hands together and pushed on the cellar doors. When they didn’t give he put his back into it, added a grunt or two for good measure. The doors rattled a bit but didn’t budge.

Pete looked to Kurt panic started to rise in both the boys. “Holy crap, Kurt! We’re gonna die down here!”

Kurt swallowed, then stomped his foot. He wasn’t going to end up in one of Old Lady Creeper’s meat pies. “Shut up, Pete.”

After a few panted breaths of musty basement air, Kurt squinted as he tried to see in the dark. “There’s got to be another way out of here. We never see the old hag leave ‘cept to go to the Piggly Wiggly.”

Pete started to search with him, both boys took a tentative step further into the dark room. He swallowed. “Do you think this is where she stores the bodies? You know… the ones for the pies.”

Kurt gulped hard and elbowed his pal in the side. “Don’t be stupid, that stuff is just stories to scare kids like us.”

They took a few more steps into the dark, Kurt squinted again and peered into the dark corner. “Hey, it’s the ball.” He ran over and picked it up. “Pete, here’s stairs. We can get out of here before Old Lady Creeper gets home.”

Pete yelped when his hand hit the edge of a worktable. His hands crept along the surface. “Yeah, I’m too young to be a pie.”

He took another few steps, his hands felt along the table for guidance. A box turned over onto his hands and he froze in place. “K..kKurt…. “

Kurt was done with this freaky place, the old lady would be home soon. She’d call his parents, he would get grounded and miss the carnival this weekend. “Come on, stop being a baby.”

He walked over to Pete and grabbed at the items that lay over his friend’s hands. It felt…. No, it couldn’t be…

The sun had started to shift and shine into the tiny filth smudged window. Kurt held up one of the things. He swallowed hard and started to tremble as his gaze fell on a skeletal hand. Kurt dropped the hand as Pete joined him in a high-pitched girly scream.

They ran full steam to the basement doors the force unjammed them. When the double doors flew open, they ran for the closest house, the boys emitted that girly scream all the way.

Mrs. Caraway walked down the stairs taking care with her bad hip. When she reached the bottom, the old dear gave out a long breath of relief. She set her Piggly Wiggly woven market bag by the deep freeze and looked over at the worktable.

There were skeletal remains scattered over the surface. With a deep sigh, she walked over and started to clean up the mess. She dropped a skull into the box on top of a witch’s hat and pumpkin tablecloth. “Damn kids, always getting in here and making a mess of my holiday decorations. Maybe I should start putting more mince pies on the window sill.”