Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding Inspiration in the Mundane

Earlier this month, I spent the weekend at the at a very old hotel in San Antonio, Texas for EPICON where I met up with a few TWRP authors, several editors and publishers and many other talented colleagues. But that’s not what I want to tell you about.

While there, I did very mundane and touristy types of things—strolling along the river, eating Mexican food, shopping for shoes. (Yes, I love shoes, too.) But everything took on new meaning this trip. I might have been doing the same things I do in my hometown, but the new location made me see these events in a whole new light.

As I strolled the river, they were dying it green for St. Patrick’s Day. On recent trips to this great city, I wondered what would happen if someone fell in, but this time I wondered if the dye would stain a person’s skin and hair green. And how long would it take for the dye to wear off? That brought a dozen or so scenarios for the first meet of a hero and heroine. Think of the possibilities. A Martian hero looking for a mate? A were-reptile? And the obvious, a leprechaun? Or what if she had an important job interview?

Later during dinner, we were entertained by a mariachi band and the waitresses all wore colorful blouses and skirts. This one took me back in time to the days leading to the siege of the Alamo. I thought of a hero who might have spent his last moments with a lovely senorita he’d lost his heart to. Of course, she’d have to take matters into her own hands to prevent him from dying a tragic death as he fought in the historic battle. Happy endings are a must. Maybe she’d tie him up and keep him in the root cellar. Well, for Scarlet Rose, she’d have to tie him to the bed.

So, did I mention the hotel I stayed in was old? During free time, I roamed the hotel, admiring the old yet elegant d├ęcor and letting my imagination of days gone by wander. Oh, and looking for ghosts. (The hotel is rumored to be haunted.) Wouldn’t it be the perfect place for a paranormal story? The heroine is a ghost trying to break free of a curse? Or maybe a heroine gets lost in the maze of halls and instead of walking into her room, she ends up going back in time? And entering the hero’s room?

Shopping for shoes? Sorry, no stories popped for me here. I just had to throw in the fact that I bought a nice pair of heels. Okay, now that I think about it, that’s definitely a Cinderella story. Very contemporary. The heels would have to be a couple inches higher than the ones I bought. And kickass red, not black with bows.

Why am I telling you all this? I just want to remind you that as a writer, you have the greatest gift and if you only open your mind to your daily happenings, your imagination can take you anywhere.

By the way, I never saw any ghosts, but with a little imagination, even groaning pipes can play with your mind…or inspire a story.

Diana Carlile
Sr. Editor, Scarlet Rose

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Technology and eBooks

Do you have a smart phone yet?  Would you believe I have only owned a smart phone for 1 week.  Yes, I was a long time coming to the table with this but not really through choice.  Well, everything is through choice, but circumstances were such that I had used up my upgrades at a popular phone carrier so I had to wait until mid March this year to be eligible. When it arrived, it took me almost a full day to open it and plug it in to charge.  I was so nervous! They are so expensive and I thought, what if I hate this?  What if I can't master it?  What if I don't see what all the fuss is about.

Well, I"m thrilled to tell you I was wrong on all accounts.  I am completely, madly, head over heels in love with my iPhone.  This is like having a mini-laptop in my hand all the time.  I can check on things from my phone.  I can keep tabs on the company and my email without having to be in this office.  Rather than a chain to my work, for me it has freed me from this desk chair. I can be anywhere, running errands, sitting at the beach, working in the yard, anywhere and take two minutes to check my mail or shoot off a quick note.  

Beside the fact that I'm like a new bride and want everyone to be as in love and happy as I am with my new relationship,having this phone brought it home to me in a very real way why so many people are reading books on their phones. This phone is an extension of my world.  It holds my memories in pictures and videos, it holds my entertainment, my work, my socializing and my financial life.  Why would it not make sense for it to hold my personal library of things to read and things I've already read.

I fully believe the next 2-3 years will be an even greater explosion of ebooks as more and more readers download directly to their phones either the ebook or the audio version.  The Wild Rose Press is doing its part at keeping up.  We've had an App waiting for approval from Apple for several months now.  As more and more of our titles become available through Apple, its only a matter of time before we get our App and we will be sure to announce it loud and clear when it arrives (for those of you on the Android platform we've had an App there for several months).  We're working hard to get our titles, at least our new titles, into audio form and out for sale through audio channels.

If you've been on the fence about a smart phone - trust me, you will never regret it.  Well until the bill comes that's still a painful moment - lol.

Rhonda  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Some Things to Remember About Dialogue by Laura Kelly


The most important thing about dialogue is to make sure each character speaks in his own voice.  The last thing you want is to have all your characters sounding the same, or worse yet, sounding like you, the author.  Dialogue is a huge part of characterization.  Each character should have her own voice and the dialogue should be consistent with that character.  Dialogue tells the reader about your character and the emotional state your character is in at that point in time.  Your reader should be able to recognize each of your characters, and, if you’re really good, their mood, when they speak.  An incensed valley girl will not use the same words, or tone, or inflection as a seasoned society matron.  An accountant will not use the same vocabulary or cadences as a cowboy. 
Here’s an example of four ways of saying the same thing.  Try to imagine what kind of character said each and how they feel about what has happened.
“My old man kicked the bucket.”
“My father passed away last night.”
“By the way, the old fart died.”
“Daddy went to heaven, sweetheart.”
The best guidelines to use when writing dialogue are: 
1.      Write the way people really speak, and
2.      Never write the way people really speak.
What do I mean by that? In real conversation, people repeat themselves. In books, this is boring.  In real life, we also talk to ourselves and our pets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across this in manuscripts (and yes, published books).  But both are very hard to pull off successfully, and as an editor, when I read a manuscript that opens with a character talking to herself, I’m almost immediately put off.  Because there are better, and less obviously manipulative, ways to get the information across.
Regarding repetitions, if you must refer to something that happened or was said earlier, summarize it in narrative whenever possible. 
For example, in chapter two you’ve written a scene where the hero and heroine face off against each other in a board meeting.  In chapter three, your heroine meets her brother for lunch and they talk about the meeting.  You don’t need to put into dialogue between the siblings what happened at the meeting.  The reader already knows.  So you move the story along with a simple:
Briefly, Sarah explained what happened at the meeting.
“That stinks,” Joe said.  “What are you going to do about it?”
In this way, by summarizing—or in this case simply referring to--the previous conversation in narrative, you keep your story moving forward.  Because every line of dialogue must have a purpose.  It must either 1) advance the story, 2) inform the reader, or 3) reveal character.  If a line of dialogue doesn’t do one of these things—cut it. Examples of useless dialogue include small talk, and the mundane, such as when introductions are made, when making or eating meals, (such as chit-chatting with the waitress) or when answering the telephone.   
In addition to that, good dialogue must also be three things—logical (does it make sense?), natural (would real people say these words in this way?) and convincing (will the reader believe this, coming from this character?)
Men and women speak differently.  We also think differently.  Be sure to reflect this in your dialogue, and also your internal dialogue, or introspection.  For example, no self-respecting alpha male would use the word, “horrid.”
Nor do men describe things the way women do.  A woman might refer to a color as fuchsia or tangerine.  A man is more likely to refer to it as a “weird shade of pink” or “some kind of orange.”  A woman might be more apt to call that thing under the hood of a car a motor.  A man might be more likely to call it an overhead cam, fuel-injected engine. 
And remember, for the most part, men use far fewer words than women do to convey the same meaning.
So put yourself in your characters’ shoes, and when writing from a point of view not of your own gender, be sure to use terms a man or woman would use, not terms you, the writer, would use.  Don’t have your men speak lyrically or poetically unless they are poets, or at least poets at heart.  Don’t have your women speak like trash-talking grease monkeys, unless, of course, they are.
Read plays or watch television to see how they handle dialogue.  Re-read your favorite books to see how the authors handle dialogue.  Eavesdrop at parties, in restaurants, on buses.  Get a feel for speech patterns and rhythms, and store what you learn in your memory bank until the time comes when you need a character with a voice “just” like the one you overheard at the dry cleaners. 
Last, but not least, always read your dialogue aloud to make sure it sounds right.  If it doesn’t, then revise it until it does sound right.
Happy writing!

Monday, March 12, 2012

What is Showing and What is Telling

by Cindy Davis, Editor

The difference between showing and telling is a difficult concept to understand. It takes practice and perseverance to master the nuances, to know when to tell and when to show. How do you know if you’re telling rather than showing your story? If you describe what’s going on in a scene, you are probably telling. When you tell rather than show, you are essentially telling the reader how to feel, because it’s your version of the story. Showing a scene instead, brings the reader in and lets them experience things right up front in their own way.
Why is there so much emphasis on showing instead of telling?
            • to put more emphasis on the character's reaction to it than a description of it
            • to immerse the reader in images, senses and dialogue rather than explanations of action
            • to present images in ways readers may not have seen them before
The question is, how to do this? One way is to use metaphors and analogies to compare the way things look, smell, sound or taste to that specific character. Rather than tell that the ocean breeze smelled like salt, show how the smell reminded the character of a romantic date he'd had. Or how it tickled his nostrils. Or how the scene affects this character emotionally. Let the sounds of your setting's everyday life permeate the scenes. The way a character reacts or thinks about sounds or events around him deepens the scene, develops the character. Shows the reader.
Always be thinking how the character views each scene. Rather than saying “Debbie sat on the bed,” show it creaking under her weight or show its legs scratching across the bare wood floor. The creak or scratch should portray how she sat. If she's angry and throws herself there, the bed will be more likely to bang against the wall. Conversely, if she's calm, she'll probably drop on the bed and it won't make any noise, but might puff up the scent of fabric softener from the quilt. Instead of a long paragraph telling how she was born in Boston, show it in how she says she “always loved the way the moonlight glistened off Boston Harbor” or that she “went to all the Bruins games.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

There's an App for that (and for you!)

This blog is from Desiree Holt who was the first author to sign up to receive our Author App.  If you have an iPhone you can download her App for free.  If you are an author - published anywhere not just TWRP - you can contact us to get your own App.  Just email appsgrp@thewildrosepress.com or rpenders@thewildrosepress.com and we'll get you started.  In the meantime, please keep reading to find out why Desiree is so in love with this cutting edge technology. Please visit our website and click the App link to get pricing information.

I’m an App!

When Rhonda Penders contacted me about turning myself into an App I thought, Wow! What a great promo opportunity. And it was so easy. On Seeker Technologies created the platform for me as well as the graphic and loaded it to the Apple platform. Once it went live I could do all kinds of things with it. 
What would that be, you ask?
Well!
It has all my books in iTune and the iStore listed with Buy links. Then it gave me the opportunity to list all my other books and add a Buy link to them. Just tap the link and it takes you to the book. I posted all my covers so people can browse through them. It has an announcements section where I post about my book release and then…very cool..I click on Push and it sends the notice as a text message to everyone who has my App. 
I’m getting ready to post photos from events I’ve attended. Oh, and by the way, I can also list events I'm attending so my readers can find me. Way cool. 
I’ve posted this everywhere and I am getting such a fantastic response from readers. They love it, especially since it’s FREE! That’s right, FREE! I pat a small monthly fee to keep the App available and with it comes free support from The Wild Rose Press and On Seeker (who by the way are the very nicest people.) 
Just think of it. With this App I can reach people all over the world. How often do you sit in an airport or restaurant or coffee shop or anyplace where you see people playing with their phones. They could be downloading and reading YOUR APP. 
This is the cheapest promo you can get with the very most bang for your buck. I’ve already heard from readers in Hong Kong and South America and even Korea that they have my App and love it. 
So what are you waiting for? Get busy. Contact Rhonda today to get your App. You won’t be sorry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

When will my book be reviewed?
My book was never reviewed. Now what?
How will I know when my book is reviewed?
How can I get my book reviewed?
What do I do after my book is reviewed?


An author's joy is to receive validation on their work, and reviews are a great way to do this. But what happens when the reviews don't come in? An author is left to wonder why their book failed to attract reviewers. There are many reasons for this.

I asked Romance Reader of Seriously Reviewed how many requests their site receives each month. Her reply, "Conservatively 500+." Their site may post 20 to 30 reviews a month. The mathematical equation isn't hard to figure out. Competition for reviews is fierce.


So when will your book be reviewed? Anytime. A review may post in the days before your release, or it may take months to garner that first review. There is no magical time frame. The Wild Rose Press has a list of reviewers that receive book information prior to release. If the review site is interested in reviewing a title, they are sent advanced reader copy. If you know of a review site that would be interested in Wild Rose Press titles, you can email me at lisadawn@thewildrosepress.com. Let me know and I'll check into the site.

Your book was never reviewed. Now what? While our books are made available to reviewers, not every book is selected for review by every review site. Some titles are never selected for review. But there are options. Review sites are great, but you the author still need to spread the word about that review. You have other options such as Goodreads.com. If you have family, friends, beta readers, ask them to leave a comment on Goodreads. Start a conversation about your book. The Wild Rose Press has a public yahoo loop. This is a great place for authors to share excerpts and for readers to learn about the wonderful romances published by TWRP.

How will you know your book has been reviewed? Sometimes reviews come from places least expected. Someone purchased your book. They loved the story and blogged about it. You'll know because you're periodically doing a Yahoo and Google search on your book title and author name to see what pops. You may be surprised at what you can find.

How can you get your book reviewed? The fact is, unless you're paying for a review, all you can do is ask. The Wild Rose Press has a policy that after 6 months from release, an author may resubmit their books for reviews but please be clear when submitting that your publisher submitted at the time of release.

But there are things you can do. Write a blurb that teases, tempts and draws the reader in. Reviewers love to read. They need to be hooked from those few paragraphs.


What do you do after your book is reviewed? If you're ever reviewed, be sure to thank the reviewer, via a comment on the blog or by email. Make a connection to the reviewer and let them know you'd be happy to drop them an email when your next book is releasing so they can watch for it.

And then tell everyone. If the review site allows comments, ask friends and fellow authors to drop by, read your review and leave a comment. Most review sites are businesses. They need traffic to their sites. Show them that you saw the review and that you're thrilled to share their opinion of your book.

If for some reason you receive a review that isn't a positive note on your book, don't send friends to jump to your defense. Not every story is for every person. So always conduct yourself with professionalism.

If you have any questions on TWRP's review policy, feel free to email me at lisadawn@thewildrosepress.com

Lisa Dawn
Marketing Director
The Wild Rose Press

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Read an Ebook Week March 4-10 2012


Celebrate Read an Ebook Week in the Garden!

Romance is in bloom and this week is the perfect opportunity to shop at The Wild Rose Press and the Wilder Roses - our erotic romance catalog.

This week discover special offers including FREE Books.
Each day selections from our catalog will be made available for a limited time.
Check out these wonderful series and take 10% off our entire digital catalog.