Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Rifle Approach to Story Writing

The Rifle Approach to Story Writing
Kathy Cottrell, Senior Editor,
Last Rose of Summer, the Wild Rose Press

No matter the length of your story, as you create it, the characters and setting, keep the RIFLE approach in mind and you'll never go wrong.
Think about what's on your keeper shelf/shelves. This is why we keep them and go back to them, like old friends, or that old, comfortable pair of slippers, and that worn, softest blankie.

R—always make it realistic. If the reader can't make sense of things, they won't finish the book.

I—make it/them intriguing. Intrigue is what keeps those pages turning.

F—Make it fun. If it's not fun to read [or write] why keep doing it?

L—is it logical? It might be realistic but is the setting or are the character[s]’  actions logical? Do they make sense?

E—make it entertaining. Have it move, keep those pages turning. Make the reader want to come back for more in that next [or previous] book.     

Monday, February 11, 2013

Long Live PDAs!

I was having the hardest time writing a blog for today.  Seriously, it is three days before Valentine's Day, what's not to talk about in this most romantic month of the year?

And that is where I got stuck.

You see, I feel bad for all those men scrambling around for the perfect gift to show the extent of their affections....and heaven forbid if it isn't enough.  That’s a lot of pressure building up for a few weeks, pressure to live up to the dreams and fantasies in their significant others' mind (of which said significant other probably hasn’t even shared to begin with.)

I think romance should be a year-round affair (pun intended.)  Why not?  If you feel so good setting up a special date or buying the one you love a box of chocolates, why do it only one day a year?  Why not once a month?  Once a week? 


Genuine Public Displays of Affection shouldn't be frowned upon--and I'm not talking exhibitionists and extremists etc LOL--I'm talking holding hands, a kiss good night, mooning stares over the dinner tabletop, grabbing an inexpensive bouquet of spring flowers along with the milk and bread from your local grocers. 

Romance is what you make it.  I admit, I get the groans from my sister and other people because my husband and I still hold hands over a restaurant table.  We still say, “I love you,” and send smiling little signals across a crowded room. I can probably count on two hands how many times in our entire relationship he has used my proper name because he still uses endearments when he addresses me. We are still young and in love even after almost fifteen years of marriage and two children.  Who says you have to stop showing it?  Or only show it one day of the year.


Romance isn’t just what I do for work….romance is who I am.  It’s how I choose to live and how I choose to express my appreciation and love of those closest to me.

Romance isn’t just in books people, it lives in each and every one of us.  Dig deep, find where you put it and bring it out again, not just this week, but all the time.



Friday, February 8, 2013

Things to Consider When Spending Promotional Dollars

Convention season is here and many authors are deciding the best use of their promotional dollars. Bookmarks, club cards, trinkets, pens, and candy. The choices are endless, but what is going to give you the most exposure for the money.

This truly is a personal choice, but I can share what I’ve seen. Bookmarks and paper products fill the hotel garbage cans when the convention is over. Having a bookmark to slip into a book at a signing will have more use, but then the sale has already happened, the reader has your book, so that expense of the bookmark didn’t really garner you a new reader.

Candy is loved at conventions. A bowl of chocolates is quickly gobbled up, but will the hungry person who plopped your chocolate into their mouth take the time to read the name of the author who gave them the chocolate? Probably not. However, I think a bowl of chocolates on the table at a signing or at Club RT for instance, is a great way to entice someone to stop and chat for a minute.

But when it comes to bookmarks, trinkets, such as letter openers, little mirrors, sewing kits and the numerous other items I’ve seen at conventions, it really comes down to price.

Because we all know that you get the best deal when buying promotional items, from paper products, to goodies, when you buy in bulk, the more you purchase, the better the price per item.

So my advice, regardless of what you’re buying, is to brand you as an author, and not your book cover. How long will it take you to go through 1000 bookmarks? 500 letter openers? You’ll have supply long after your book title is old. Think about your author tag line. Take these Wild Rose Press authors

Sarah Grimm where dangerously sexy & happily-ever-after collide
Kathryn Knight Passionate Romance with a Paranormal Twist
Victoria M. Noxon Sensual Love with a Twist of Darkness
Maxine Mansfield Spinner of Erotic Tales of Romantic Fantasy

If an author writes erotic romance, a steamy image with their website, their author name, and their author tag line will go farther in branding them. A book cover may be outdated in 6 months if an author has a continuous flow of new books hitting the bookshelves.

An author who writes historical western romance could use a western background, a western font for the writing on their promotional items and instantly give a reader insight into the genre of books they write.

Regardless of what items you choose to use, conventions and author swag are fun ways of letting the public get to know you the author. So make yourself stand out. Be clear on branding. If you write sweet stories, don’t use a naked couple in an embrace to show off your stories. Your website is vital. Be sure to include it on all your promotional swag. And then on your website, keep all of your buy links to retailers up to date and easy to find.

If you have questions, or you know of a great etailer for promotional items, let us know with a comment.

Lisa Dawn