Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tech Talk: Chapter Breaks

Tech Talk: Chapter Breaks

Want your editor to love you? Or at the very least, make your manuscript look a bit more professional?

Learning to do chapter breaks can be fun. Okay...that might be the geek in me coming out. But really, it’s not that difficult, and if you make it a habit as you are writing your next story it’s not even time consuming.

My assumption is that we ALL use Microsoft Word when we write. (That’s because I like to haul out that old adage about ASSUME.) But really, I’m sure the Help section of whatever word processing program you use can teach you how to do page breaks--which is the key to making chapter breaks.

The nifty part about doing page breaks is that no matter how much editing or revising you do on your work, the chapter breaks will always remain at the top of the page. Not so if you use the Enter Key multiple times (sometimes up to 30 times!) to make “Chapter Six” appear at the top of the next page.

All you need do is at the end of chapter one, hit the return key once. Then insert a page break.

On the newer ribbon-style versions of Word, go to the “Insert” tab. In the first section called “Pages” you will find an icon called “Page Breaks.” Click it and Word takes you to the top of the next page. Magic!

It has been many years (more than one constitutes many, right?) since I’ve used the older icon-based version of Word, but I do have a screenshot that shows an “Insert” pull-down menu along the top bar. I’d be willing to bet that they’ve stored the page break command there.

The house preference for The Wild Rose Press is to have the chapter title aka “Chapter 2” or “Chapter Two” placed on line 6 of the page (5 blank lines) indented as a paragraph (not centered). Then we insert one blank line and the body of the text begins.

For a more detailed account (including pictures!) of this procedure and five other exciting ways to please your editor, leave your email address in the Comments section and I will send you a copy of the tutorial I send all my new authors, “Polishing Your Manuscript.” It includes both pre- and post-Word 2007 instructions.)


Free! No obligation! No credit card required! Your email address will not be used for marketing purposes. (What other disclaimers did I miss?)

Maggie Johnson - Editor
The Wild Rose Press

Monday, April 7, 2014

Driving down the road, a pothole ate my car.

To be honest, I love dangling modifiers. I even collect them. The idea of a pothole driving my car tickles me pink.

What? You don’t get it? Look closely at the title of this post. “A pothole ate my car” is fine. It has a subject, verb, direct object. It’s a classic example of personification, giving animate qualities to inanimate objects. On the other hand, “driving down the road” is an adjectival clause, but what does it describe? It’s just dangling there at the beginning of the sentence. The only thing it can describe is the pothole.  But how can a pothole drive a car?

You might think, “But isn’t it understood that ‘I’ was driving the car?” Well, no. You could get away with saying this in dialogue, because people do say things like that, but not in narrative. In narrative you need to be crystal clear. The solution is to turn the adjectival clause into an adverbial clause: “As I was driving down the road, a pothole ate my car.”

Here’s another one. “Captured around the neck, the lariat terrified the horse.” Did you know lariats had necks? Neither did I. And why would a horse be terrified of a lariat captured around its non-existent neck? The poor horse is terrified at being captured around the neck by a lariat. Or you could say, “The lariat around its neck terrified the captured horse.” 

Misplaced modifiers can be just as much fun. Er, just as confusing. A notable one came up in a description of a down and dirty street fight: “She kicked the guy in the privates wearing the Lacoste shirt.” I nearly fell out of my chair howling at the mental image of some poor peon in a Chinese sweat shop, sewing oddly shaped little shirts for Lacoste. Obviously, the guy, not his privates, was wearing a Lacoste shirt.

How about this one: “She watched the brown-haired guy with envious eyes.”  Who had the envious eyes, him or her? In this example and the one above, the solution is to keep the prepositional phrase (in the privates, with envious eyes) as close to the word it modifies as possible. This can mean simply moving it, but more often a better solution is to rewrite the whole sentence. You may lose some hilarity, but gain clarity.

Here’s a series of sentences with one word moved. See how that one word can change the meaning?

Today the man we hired to mow our lawn is sick. (He’s sick today.)
The man we hired to mow our lawn today is sick. (He’ll mow the lawn today, not tomorrow.)
The man we hired today to mow our lawn is sick. (We just hired him today, even though he’s sick.)
The man we hired to mow our lawn is sick today. (He’s sick today.)

All of these sentences are grammatically correct, yet they have different meanings. (The first and last are equivalent, of course.) All I did was move the word “today.” For another example, try replacing “today” with “only.”

Only the man we hired to mow our lawn is sick. (Not the man we hired to trim the shrubs.)
The man we hired to mow our lawn only is sick. (He’ll mow our lawn, not the neighbors’ lawn.)
The man we hired only to mow our lawn is sick. (He won’t do any other work for us.)
The man we hired to mow our lawn is sick only. (He’s not dying.)
 The last one is awkward but would work as “The man we hired to mow our lawn is only sick.” 

English is very flexible with where one can place modifiers, but that flexibility has consequences. To have your sentences say what you want them to say, make sure your modifiers are where they belong. 

Kinan Werdski, editor
The Wild Rose Press

Monday, March 24, 2014

Come Visit Lobster Cove



Many of you have heard by now of the new series Wild Rose Press is introducing.  It is truly exciting and has this place “snapping.”  Now in case you haven’t heard or have missed some of the information, I wanted to bring you up to date.  Summer vacations are coming up so what better time to write something to fit this wonderful village.  We are looking for stories 20,000 words and up.  There isn’t a deadline but we will announce one at a future date.
So what is Lobster Cove, you ask.  Well, let’s take a look.  Lobster Cove is a fictional small town on the coast of Maine, near Bar Harbor. It is quaint and quirky with a colorful history, a friendly population of charming residents, and a vibrant tourist business.  It is located off of Hulls Cove which is on the Eastern coast of Mount Desert Island (pronounced Dessert), and is shaped like lobster claws. It is on the Eastern portion of Acadia National Park, 4 or 5 miles north of Bar Harbor, on Route 3. Frenchman Bay surrounds that portion of the non-sandy coast.   12 miles from Bar Harbor to the airport at Trenton, which is on the mainland (route 3). Trenton is where you cross the bridge over to the island.
The Hulls Cove Visitor Center for the park is located at Hulls Cove.  The Park Loop Road is 27 miles, and begins there and winds around the rocky coast, past Sand Beach (the only sand beach on the ocean (on the island) to the southwest, Thunder hole and Otter Cliffs.  There are scenic walks, ocean paths along Frenchman Bay. In the middle of the park is Jordan Pond House and they serve fresh popovers and fresh squeezed lemonade.
So far Lobster Cove has found a sheriff, a paralegal, a RE agent, a researcher, a waitress, a HS principal, a nurse, a doctor, a school board chair, a HS math teacher, a whale watching vessel captain, an artist or two or three, a lawyer, a coffee house owner, a ghost, a thug, an accountant, an FBI agent, a deputy, a dungeon master, and more.  We have a diner, a lobster shack, an art gallery, a book store, and more.  We even have a serial killer and a country fair festival.  (Wondering if those are connected, aren’t you? J)  Can’t you see the town developing? 
We are looking for well-written, engaging manuscripts from across all of our lines, from historicals to contemporary. Stories can be romance or mainstream and can be sweet or erotic or anything in between.  Submissions must take place in Lobster Cove and also meet the guidelines for the individual line, including heat level and tone.
Now, if you are wondering how to submit your query for this series, the process is easy.  For authors who are already published with Wild Rose Press, the query process is the same as always.  You may query your editor about writing a story for the Lobster Cove Series. Your editor will work with you and the line’s Senior Editor, as well as the coordinator of Lobster Cove (who happens to be me) to ensure your story fits within the guidelines of Lobster Cove.
If you are new to TWRP, please submit your story using our submission guidelines. Make sure you indicate you are writing for the Lobster Cove Series. Your story will be sent to the appropriate editor who will work with the Senior Editor and the coordinator (again, me J) on the story.  You can check our website for the email address and more information on us as a whole.
To maintain continuity across the stories, a basic layout of the town and names of landmarks and streets will be created. Once stories are selected and editing has begun, changes may need to be made to the stories for continuity of character names, events, etc.  As more information about this is decided, notifications will be posted so everyone is on the same page. A yahoo loop will be created for writers serious about writing for this series. Please do not ask to join the loop if you are not serious about writing for this series.   If you would like to join the loop, please contact me.
Anyone with further questions should contact me directly at lori (at) thewildrosepress.com.  I will be glad to talk through the process with you.

Welcome to Lobster Cove and we hope you enjoy your stay!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Better Reading, Better Writing

Better Reading, Better Writing


Whenever you find a problem in your writing, be it in the nuts and bolts of structure or in leaden dialogue or dreary flashbacks, you'll always find an answer by studying your favorite writers and seeing how they handle the problem.

Many writers keep notebooks into which they copy outstanding phrases or even sentences from their reading. They don't ever copy these into their own work but use them as a learning tool. Reading is always the key to great writing.

Not all readers write--though if you scan the number of e-books added daily to Amazon, you may doubt the truth of that--but all writers and editors read voraciously.

This weekend I've been playing on the bite size Staples speedreader program.It's a fun way to check out your reading speed against the national average. You read a short passage, answer three comprehension questions and get a percentage comparison. And yes, I'll admit it, it's a wonderful excuse for procrastination.

If you're then looking to up your speed, try Spritzing. Content is streamed word by word, so your eyes spend no time moving around the page. This makes reading far easier, especially on small screens. Horizontal lines and hash marks focus your eyes on a red letter in each word, so you absorb the content you are reading far faster. You can also practice in different languages.

Interestingly after a few minutes on the Spritz website, I upped my score on the speedreader by nearly 40%.

Obviously the score would be better as I had already taken the test previously and knew what to expect but Spritzing led to a more relaxed yet more observant reading style. Worth a look especially when it comes to editing your work prior to submission.

Try it out. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Post your score if you see improvements in your speed reading. 

But if you prefer to read slowly and savor every word, tell us that too. How do you like to read?

* * * *

And as it's St Patrick's Day, celebrate by treating yourself to a rollicking read from The Wild Rose Press and practice your new skills on that. Here's a well reviewed historical with an Irish theme: Irish Destiny by Donna Dalton. 

Find the speedreader comparison check at

Start Spritzing at

And please remember to let us know if you'll be speed reading in the future in the comments below.


Anne Knol

Monday, March 10, 2014

Second Banana...But Not Necessarily Second Best



Where would Scarlet be without Melanie?  Harry Potter without Ron Weasely?  Luke Skywalker without Han Solo? Skipper without Gilligan?  I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  Now and then our heroes and heroines…well… get by with a little help from their friends.  

Call them what you want: the best friend, second fiddle, second banana or sidekick, but I like to think of these characters as seasoning—too much can ruin the taste, but the right amount can truly enhance the flavor and heighten the experience.  Whether you love or hate creating them, secondary characters are a vital part of your hero and heroine’s journey.

Maybe what makes these characters so much fun—to writers and readers alike—is the freedom they offer.  Since they don’t have to be heroic, there’s no pressure to make them perfect.  In fact, they can be as delightfully flawed as your imagination will allow.

A lot has been said about whether it’s okay to use the PV of a secondary, and when it’s appropriate.  I can only offer my take on it, and my preference for what we see in the historical department.  But here it is:
Secondary characters are a necessary tool to impart information to the reader.  Most often this is done through dialogue and interactions with the hero or heroine –we can learn a lot about our characters by who they call friend, after all.  It’s not often, but there are times when our second fiddle needs to step up to the plate.  A case in point: our heroine has been kidnapped by the villain (whose PV it is appropriate to use) and our hero has been knocked unconscious.  Who is going to drive the story?  Enter the second banana. Or—our heroine is delirious with a fever and our hero is miles away.  Who will carry the next scene forward?  Cue the sidekick.

When is it not okay to use a secondary PV? When your hero or heroine is present in the scene.  If they are present, alert and conscious, they really should be the focal point-- after all they’re the star of the show.  (Again, this is only my take on the use of secondary PV’s, other editors may feel differently.  If you’re currently working with an editor, it’s a good idea to ask his or her thoughts before adding in the PV of a secondary character.)

Another time the use of a secondary character PV wouldn’t work –and again, this is just my opinion, other editors may feel differently—is when the character is new to the reader.  Throwing in the PV of a secondary character whom the reader has not “met” before and won’t see again is never a good idea, IMO. Readers want to get to know your characters and relate to them, not be thrown into the PV of a stranger for a few paragraphs on page 150 and then back out.  Use of a secondary PV in this type of situation doesn’t do anything to move the story forward; it’s a detour that takes us away from the actual story.  If you find yourself doing this, ask yourself—what am I trying to impart here? That the hero’s second cousin’s maid of honor thinks he’s hot?  If that’s all, then it’s unnecessary. (A good rule of thumb: When in doubt, take it out!) But if there is vital information to be shared, find another way –or another character-- so it won’t be so jarring to the reader.

Be warned, though, if your hero or heroine’s best friend starts leaping off the page at you or you find yourself adding them into scenes more and more or creating situations just for them…you might soon find yourself writing a second story, this time with your second banana in the lead role. Today’s sidekick may very well be tomorrow’s hero!

Who are some of your favorite secondary characters from popular fiction or movies?



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why Bother to Write? By Betty Hanawa

Originally Published in the Wild Rose Press Greenhouse

Why Bother to Write? By Betty Hanawa

The air is sweet with perfume of springtime blossoms. There's a cool breeze blowing no longer holding the sharp bite of winter. It's time to be enjoying the outside before Summer's heat and humidity makes everything miserable. The last thing you want to do right now is sit at a blasted keyboard and try to write a book.

Why bother?

On the other hand, you've dealt with cranky co-workers all day, came home to a family who has the audacity to demand supper and clean clothes. The last thing you have time for is to write on a book that odds say is never going to be published anyway. So why bother?

But wait! The Muse showed up with a perfect scene. You finish cleaning up the supper dishes and head to the keyboard. The words are flowing. But the youngest kid leans against your shoulder and you realize he's got a fever. The teenager screams from the family room that the dog just puked up all the corn chips the teenager thought it was fun to toss so the dog could catch them. Naturally, you have to clean it up because the teenager will puke herself if she attempts the job. Now you've got a headache. You might as well go to bed after taking care of all the family's needs. The Muse will be gone anyway.

Why bother to try to write?

Because you have to do something for yourself.

Everyone needs a creative aspect in their life to make their soul sing. You're reading this newsletter because your soul needs to write, whether it's a journal you keep for your own self-pleasure, articles for newsletters, or a story with characters you've created and love.

But how do you get time for yourself to create with the Muse?

There's not much you can do about the cranky co-workers and the day job, except to firmly remind yourself what happens at the job, stays at the job. You're not paid enough to worry about the dratted day job on your home time.

Household chores - a teenager and a spouse can each make a dinner meal once a week. A four year- old can set the table and help with clean-up. And, yes, teenagers and spouse can be introduced to Ms. Washer and Mr. Dryer and be responsible for laundry. Everyone lives there. Why are you the only one doing the household chores? The teenager made the dog sick, she can clean it up - then clean up her own mess.
Granted a feverish kid needs your attention. But once the kid is dosed up and put to bed, there's no reason for you to provide entertainment. A sick child needs sleep. Check on him once in awhile, but it's amazing how quickly a child gets well when bed rest and nothing but bed rest is enforced.

To fill your own creative need, you must get back to the Muse

Now here's the thing about the Muse. If you make the time to show up at the keyboard, the Muse shows up, too. It might take awhile. You might have to force yourself to write garbage for a while - which is really hard if you haven't discovered yet how to kill that stupid Internal Editor who sneers at any imperfection. But, if you write enough garbage, eventually the Muse gets curious, comes back, and says "Here, let me help."

The Muse always, always appears when you sit down to write. You've all heard of the tools to help you write while away from the computer. In addition to a laptop, there's the AlphaSmart and its companions The Neo and The Dana. If those are out of your price range, there's always the standard yellow tablet and pen or pencil.

The Muse needs the invitation to join you.

The invitation gets issued when you sit to write. If you deny your creative urge to write, you'll get frustrated, then resentful, and you become the cranky one your coworkers and family complain about.

For your own peace, for the peace of those who love you, take time from each day to write. They'll complain at the beginning, but don't give in. Your coworkers and boss need to learn that your time away from the office is your time, not theirs. Your family will not only learn to respect your private time, but gain their own self-respect by learning skills that will serve them in their own lives.

When you don't grant yourself the self-respect to value your writing, how do you expect respect from anyone else?

Spring is the time of new life. Give your writing a new life. Set writing goals of pages per week and make those goals despite all the distractions life throws at you. Be firm and make sure the family and friends respect your time for yourself. Getting them in the habit of leaving you alone now makes it handy when you're published and have unmovable deadlines.

And if the warm Spring breezes and blooming flowers are completely irresistible?

Take your writing tablet and pencil outside and invite the Muse to join you. Start writing and the Muse will come.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Visit Lobster Cove - A New series from the Wild Rose Press





Lobster Cove Series Guidelines

Word Count:      No particular word count but would prefer stories to be at least 20,000 and up

Deadlines:           Holiday Stories – May 31, 2014 (So they can release for Holiday 2014)

                                For other stories, there is no deadline at this time.  However, we will be announcing one
                                at a future date.

What is Lobster Cove?

                Lobster Cove is a fictional small town on the coast of Maine, near Bar Harbor. It is quaint and quirky with a colorful history, a friendly population of charming residents, and a vibrant tourist business. It is home to research scientists and small shop owners, grumpy cops and sassy chefs. Back in the day, it was a bustling fishing town and home to many immigrants, from both the state cabins and the lowest decks.

What are we looking for?

                The Wild Rose Press is looking for well-written, engaging manuscripts from across all of our lines, from Historicals to contemporary. Stories can be romance or mainstream and can be sweet or erotic or anything in between.

Submissions must take place in Lobster Cove and also meet the guidelines for the individual line, including heat level and tone. For example, a paranormal must meet the guidelines for Black or Faery Rose and take place in Lobster Cove.

For instance: (These are just examples to get the creativity flowing!)

Contemporary

Crimson – FBI agent has been tracking a serial killer up Route 1, straight to Lobster Cove. Can the grumpy local sheriff help her finally catch the killer?
                Sweetheart – The local dog walker has had a crush on the cute second grade teacher since high school. Helping his class with their project for the annual Lobster Crawl finally gives her the opportunity to ask him out.
                Champagne – The ferry boat captain isn’t getting along with the historic lighthouse’s new owner. They fall for each other’s charms, but can they charm the old lighthouse into working again?         
                Yellow Rose - She left her family’s Wyoming ranch for a new start leading tourist rides around the area, but what happens when her cowboy comes looking for her?        
                Last Rose of Summer – After her divorce ten years ago, a sassy chef was too busy running her tourist magnet bistro and raising her teenage daughters. Now that they’re in college, she can finally cook up something with the fishing boat captain.

Historical

American Rose – The Revolution hasn’t quite reached sleepy Lobster Cove, so what’s going on between the British soldier and the magistrate’s daughter? Which one is really the spy?
                Cactus Rose – He’s sure his fortune is in the Wild West of California, but to earn his way, he’ll have to protect the coach of a wealthy arranged bride the whole way there. If they can ever get out of Lobster Cove.
                English Tea Rose – A shipping magnet brings his society daughter to their new home in Lobster Cove. Can she and the brash American ever get along?       
                Vintage Rose – An ER doctor is sure she’s treated every type of wound, from freak shark attacks to car accidents, but can she heal the wounds the town bad boy comes home with from the first Gulf War?

Paranormal

Black Rose – He lives in the creepy old mansion and runs the morgue. Is there any way this guy isn’t a vampire?
                Faery Rose – She runs the apothecary shop that draws locals and tourists alike. He’s only passing through and needs a gift for his mother, so why is he still there a month later?

Erotic

Scarlet Rose – A Navy SEAL has no idea what he’s going to do in Lobster Cove, until he finds out the oceanographer is as sexy in just her glasses as she is in a wetsuit. Or maybe something like this—no one knows quite what the mysterious woman is doing with the old speakeasy, but there’s a whole new kind of tourist in the area.

Mainstream

In a cozy New England town, there’s bound to be a wine club, a ghost walking an old rampart, or that almost forgotten mystery surrounding the missing child.

Submission Process

For authors who are already published with Wild Rose Press, the query process is the same as always. You may query your editor about writing a story for the Lobster Cove Series. Your editor will work with you and the line’s Senior Editor, as well as the coordinator of Lobster Cove (Lori Graham) to ensure your story fits within the guidelines of Lobster Cove.

If you are new to TWRP, please submit your story using our submission guidelines. Make sure you indicate you are writing for the Lobster Cove Series. Your story will be sent to the appropriate editor who will work with the Senior Editor and the coordinator (Lori Graham) on the story. http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=214

To maintain continuity across the stories, a basic layout of the town and names of landmarks and streets will be created. Once stories are selected and editing has begun, changes may need to be made to the stories for continuity of character names, events, etc.  As more information about this is decided, notifications will be posted so everyone is on the same page. A yahoo loop will be created for writers serious about writing for this series. Please do not ask to join the loop if you are not serious about writing for this series.

Anyone with further questions should contact coordinator Lori Graham directly at lori@thewildrosepress.com. She will answer you directly or get you the answer you need.

Welcome to Lobster Cove and we hope you enjoy your stay!