Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Writing Romantic Suspense


I’ve always been a plot-oriented writer, which can be a boon or a burden. When I came up with the idea to write three books set in Alaska, I knew immediately knew I wanted the stories to revolve around three brothers. I had written about the Raines brothers when I began my AGAINST Series with Jackson, Gabe, and Dev, in AGAINST THE WIND, AGAINST THE FIRE, and AGAINST THE LAW. 

I loved the interaction between the three men and wanted to try it again. I knew I wanted all three of the brothers to be tough outdoorsmen, the kind of guys who face the harsh challenges of Alaska every day.

Being a plot-oriented author, the stories that came to mind didn’t all fit into one tiny town. AGAINST THE WILD was set in the fictional village of Watertown on the Alaska panhandle near the real town of Wrangell. AGAINST THE SKY is set near Anchorage, AGAINST THE TIDE is in Valdez. The action takes place miles apart, but the Brodie brothers, Dylan, Nick, and Rafe have a very strong bond. The kind of men who are there for each other, no matter what dangers might befall them.

In AGAINST THE SKY, Nick Brodie, a former Army Ranger and ex-Anchorage homicide detective, has a serious case of burnout. He wants a new life, something that doesn't include violence and death. Unfortunately when his neighbor, twelve-year-old Jimmy Evans, comes to him beaten and battered, claiming his father was murdered, Nick has no choice but to help him.

To make matters worse, Nick has a lady friend visiting from San Francisco. Samantha Hollis, owner of the Perfect Pup pet grooming parlor, isn't cut out for the harsh life in Alaska. Unwillingly swept into Jimmy's problems, she finds herself on a wild ride with Nick that leads them both into passion and terrible danger.

Because I write bigger stories, this one pulls Nick and Samantha into the seedy world of drugs and prostitution when they come up against the Russian mafia.

It’s one of my favorite stories--lots of heart in this one.


I hope you enjoy AGAINST THE SKY and that you’ll watch for Rafe, the oldest Brodie brother, in AGAINST THE TIDE, out May 27th. Until then, all best and happy reading.

 Kat

Twitter: @katbooks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/luvromance/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kat-Martin/e/B000AQ0OJQ/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/49381.Kat_Martin


One lucky random commenter with recieve a copy paperback or ebook copy of AGAINST THE SKY. (United States, only.)



AGAINST THE SKY
By Kat Martin

Release date: 1/27/15

AGAINST THE SKY is a fish out of water story.  Nick Brodie, an ex-Anchorage cop, is tough as nails, a true man's man, comfortable in the hard life in Alaska.  But Samantha Hollis, owner of a pet grooming parlor in San Francisco likes shopping at Sak's and a day at the spa.   Unwillingly swept into Nick’s problems, Samantha finds herself on a wild ride that leads them in to passion and terrible danger. 
It was fun finding ways to make their relationship work when they seem so very far apart. This one’s very fast paced, but it has a soft heart.  It turned out to be one of my favorites.

KAT’s WEBSITE

AGAINST THE SKY BOOK TRAILER VIDEO

CONTEST
BUY LINKS



Monday, January 26, 2015

Be Your Character's Life Coach, with Terrel Hoffman

Having trouble with your characters? Our OCCRWA February Online Class can help!

Terrel Hoffman is here today to talk about the online class she'll be teaching starting February 16, 2015:

WHO YOUR CHARACTER THINKS SHE IS MIGHT NOT BE WHO YOU THINK SHE IS

Who are you?

Who do you think you are?

Is who you think you are who you really are?

Are you sure?

Read the questions above again. Slowly. Now, apply those questions to your characters.

Who you are is an amalgam of every experience you’ve ever had. Everything you’ve thought others think about you. The same is true of your characters, if you’ll let them experience their lives.

Who you are (as in who you really are) is deep inside you. And that authentic person cannot be revealed unless you give her (or him) space.

That’s the idea behind life coaching. It’s a process of discovering the person you were always meant to be, discovering the path you were always meant to take, living the life you were always meant to live.

That’s what you try to do for your characters, right? You want your characters to be three dimensional. You want them to be memorable, believable, realistic. And yet, what if that realism is something you can’t reveal without understanding everything that ever went into creating your character as she is today?

You don’t need to go deep into your character’s Freudian psychology, or know who her 3rd- grade teacher was, if that stellar individual didn’t contribute to your character’s persona, nor do you need to be your character’s armchair therapist. Coaching is a process of asking a series of powerful questions and listening carefully to the answers. Each question’s response leads to further questions.

With Be Your Character’s Life Coach you construct your characters from the inside out.

You probably know what your character’s wound is, where it all started. But what if your character’s behavior and choices led her to the event? Now I’m not talking about rape or war or other catastrophic events as being your character’s fault. But even with those, the events in your character’s life that precede catastrophe can reveal how your character might deal with it afterward.

So, if you aren’t who you think you are, how do you discover who the real you is? And how do you dig out from underneath all the false “you”s to reveal the bright and shining authentic you?

When you write your characters, that’s what you’re doing, right?

Why not make it realistic? Internally consistent? Organic? Why not also make it fun, thought provoking and surprising too?

With this class, and the exercises in it, you’ll discover how persistent and sneaky your character can be to make sure she gets in her own way. You’ll expose the stories your character has told herself that cause her to believe being stuck is okay. And you’ll discover how your character can grow over the course of her book to attain the balance needed to allow her authentic self to come forth to achieve her happily ever after. You’ll also discover how your character can fail to grow, can reinforce her stories, energize her sneaky side, and so continue to live an inauthentic life. Which is what villains do, right?

I hope you’ll join me for Be Your Character’s Life Coach. But I need you to know, this is a demanding class. As with any life coach, I ask the questions, but you, and your character, do the hard work after the session is over.
 
Be Your Character's Life Coach, with Terrel Hoffman, starts February 16, 2015 and runs through March 15, 2015.
 
For more information and to enroll go to the OCCRWA website.  

 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Court of Public Opinion

I learned one thing when I served on a jury.

Well, in fairness, I learned more than one thing, but one thing really did stand out, and I've never forgotten it.  

Perhaps because it was so obvious.  Perhaps because at the time the people I shared my revelation with felt that it should hardly have been a revelation.  And perhaps it shouldn't have been.  But OMG it is something I truly wish everyone actually felt was not only obvious, but something they should live by on a daily basis.

My particular case was excruciatingly boring and interminable (yes, even the Judge went to sleep once), but the experience truly reinforced the home truth: 

Don't judge before you have heard both sides. Really.  Don't.

Now in life, you often don't have the opportunity to hear both sides.  

So pop quiz: what shouldn't you do?  

Correct: don't come down on a final judgement.  

Sure you can have an opinion, but acknowledge that you're shooting from the hip and your aim and accuracy will suffer for it.

Of course, it is fun to judge othersit can be enormously satisfying and quite entertainingbut not if you start to take yourself and the numerous equally uninformed others seriously.  If you plan to make a serious judgment you have to investigate all sides and unemotionally do your homework. And it's hardly reasonable to take other opinions seriously unless they've listened to all sides and done their homework, right? But reason doesn't seem to have much cachet right now.

A favorite childhood tale was a friend who had a somewhat...difficult relationship with her older brother.  Her favorite method of pulling his chain was to wallop him, then shout, "Mommy, Johnny's hitting me!!!!" Mom would, naturally arrive just in time to see with her own eyes Johnny retaliating, and send him off, no excuses.  Eyewitness account!

Our judge instructed us in our role as a jury, noting that it was up to us to discern the truth from the information we were given.  "Ask yourself," he requested, "why someone is saying something.  Figure out what their motives might be, what the repercussions might be, and assess the information accordingly." (Like: will it sell more papers? Get hits? Go viral? Make me famous? Yes? Think about it.)

Good advice.

But in this self-obsessed, self-revelatory, boundary-less world of private/public yammering, everyone is a self-anointed judge, jury and executioner.  That is until someone points out the accused wasn't even there, or the visuals were utterly misinterpreted, or the victim was actually the perpetratoror vice versa.  Oops!

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. [Matthew 7:1-2]

I appreciate the power of stories, books, filmswhateverto put us in the shoes of those pilloried by public opinion.  And, I hope, offer us some insight and restraint in controlling our own often irrational and thoughtless behavior.  

Bullying isn't just the province of the young.

Isabel Swift

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why I Chose Self-Publishing

“Why Did You Chose To Self-Publish? This is the first question most Self-Published Authors are asked. However, what’s really going through the mind of the person asking is, “So you couldn’t get an agent or your work wasn’t up to snuff.” That’s so not true.

I’ve learned a lot on the road to becoming a self-published writer. First, I had an agent. A well respected agent in the world of Christian Fiction. Let me preface this by saying, she knew my writing style. She’d read the first five chapters of my book. Actually, it was a different book. [That’s a story for another time.] She got my book to “Board.” Two years later and I’m still waiting to hear if that publisher wants to move forward with my book. I think it’s safe to say, they passed on it.

I need to back up. I write what is classed as Edgy Christian Fiction. What is that you ask? ECF [Edgy Christian Fiction], is fiction with Christian themes. What makes it “Edgy” is that it includes elements not common in traditional Inspirational or Christian fiction. In my books, that means the kisses are a little more passionate, there’s sex between the married couples, language with a little bite, lots of physical descriptions voiced by the characters, wine, talk about abortion, divorce, fornication, lust, not liking your in-laws and anything else that goes on in everyday life. The men are hot, the women are loaded with curves and both are quick to render their appreciation of the opposite sex.

As a Christian, I wanted to read stories about women who weren’t ashamed or embarrassed to express their feelings, with strong personalities and business owners. Let’s be real, when you’re sitting down with your girlfriends talking, you’re not talking in prose. No, you’re very descriptive in your comments on how amazing Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Johnny Depp or Daniel Craig looked in their last movie. So why not write stories from that POV.

I feel it’s a little difficult to convey to the reader the heroine’s attraction is to the hero by not being descriptive in this manner. Traditional Inspiration Fiction, the heroine’s feelings might be described with something like, “His thick black hair was beautiful blowing in the wind, brought a smile to her face.” That’s nice, but in my world, it would have a little more umph, like, “She wondered how his thick black hair would feel brushing against her chin as he placed hot kisses along her neck.” Or maybe, “When he kissed the back of her neck, she lost the ability to stand.” Statements like this aren’t necessarily acceptable CBA approved.

In my GENERATIONAL CURSE, I wanted to tell a story about a man who never turned down a drink or a woman. But when he hit rock bottom, he went cold turkey and fell in love with God. His priorities changed and he refused to let anyone or anything destroy that relationship. The heroine, is the complete opposite. She hasn’t had a relationship with God since she was a child. And even then it was more forced. Now as an adult, the only part of marriage she wants, is a married lover. She has no desire to be with a single available man. In her mind, a married man is less complicated. But she is intrigued by the hero and he her.

In order to tell the story, I had to take the reader on a journey with the heroine. I had to show how complicated and empty her life was by detailing her relationship with her married lover. I’m sure the story could have been told without the sex, but I don’t think it would have had the same impact. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end it all makes sense.

So Why Did I Choose To Self-Publish? I wanted to tell the stories I wanted to read. I met an agent at a conference and she gave me two options: tell the story with the sex and no God or tell the story with God and no sex.

I wrestled with that statement for quite a while. But, I felt God had given me a great platform and I refused to back down. Also, I wanted covers and titles that were a little racy…another thing not really permitted in Inspirational or Christian Fiction.

So here I am, a newbie writer taking a chance writing stories with a little heat and taboo subjects. I know my style of book isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. For those willing to read something a little different, I think they’ll enjoy it.

Funny thing, a few weeks after I published my book, I got an LinkedIn request from my former agent. I’m still deciding if I should accept it.

That’s why I chose to self-pub.

Tracy Reed

readtracyreed@me.com
www.readtracyreed.com

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys


I’m a single Christian Woman who loves God, Fashion and Cute Guys. I live in California, but consider myself a partial New Yorker because of the two and half years I lived there. I own www.thepinkduchess.com, a lingerie site for curvy women. GENERATIONAL CURSE is my debut novel. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day by Jina Bacarr

The picture says it all...


Now if it would only rain here in So Cal!! Perfect for romance.

~Jina

jinabacarr.com
@jinabacarr

Friday, January 09, 2015

Self-Publishing Online Class - Info From Sample Lectures

I thought you might want to know more about the self-publishing class that I'll be teaching starting Monday. So here are some samples from some of my class lectures.

From Lecture 1

Welcome to my class on self-publishing your book! I’m glad you’re here. There are a lot of ways to get your book out into the world, and I’m going to present only a few. Then you’ll be able to take what you learn here, continue to research and learn more about your other options, and make changes (if you choose) in the future with more confidence.
The first things you’ll need to decide are:
  • do you want to publish in ebook only, print only, or both?
  • what software will you use?
  • what distributors will you use?
Starting today, if you haven’t already started a notebook or computer file to save all the information you collect on self-publishing, do it now.
I use an ARC notebook from Staples to save everything that is already printed, or that I print out.
I prefer these because I like how easy it is to pull a piece of paper from one section and press it into another without having to open and close a 3-ring binder all the time. But whatever you like and will find easy to organize is what you should use.
I save different information - my house style guide, some how-to blogs that I’ve saved, a list of passwords and links to the distributors I use, and much more - in a Scrivener file.
Screen shot - Style guide
From that Scrivener file, I can cut and paste links I need easier than if they were in a printed file, and I can continually update my style guide, add new books or formats (like audiobooks), and organize other information that I don’t feel the need to print.

From Lecture 2

In addition to the big choices – will I publish in ebook, print, or both formats? what software will I use? – you have a lot of detailed choices as well. This lesson will help familiarize you with some of those choices, and provide web sites where you can look up more information and/or sign up for the service.
Business Type
When you sign up for an account to publish your book with a distributor (KDP, Smashwords, etc.), you will need to provide your legal name (if you write with a pen name) and/or your business name. I chose to register a DBA (Doing Business As, also known as a Fictitious Business Name) so I could have a company name without the expense of setting up a corporation or LLC. You will have to do your own research on this, ask your accountant and/or attorney what is best for you because I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice.
If you live in California, here is a link to the state web site explaining the minimum tax if you set up a corporation or LLC. Google “[my state] minimum tax” to find out more about the tax consequences of setting up a corporation/LLC in your state.
CHOICE: How will I set up my distributor accounts, and what do I need to do before I can sign up for those accounts?
Tax Identification Numbers
When you sign up with a distributor, you need to provide banking information and a tax ID number so you can get paid and so your earnings can be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
If you run your business as a sole proprietor, with or without a DBA, you can use your social security number or you can apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). While I can’t give you legal or financial advice, here are some articles that may help you decide.
Depending on your bank and your business type, you may be able to set up a business checking account. (Your bank can tell you if they require an EIN for a sole proprietorship with or without a DBA, or if they will allow you to use your social security number.) Your royalties/earnings can be deposited there instead of your personal account to make accounting and taxes easier. Or your bank may only let you set up a separate personal checking account. Either way, you need to decide where you want your money deposited.
If you use PayPal, you may want to research how you can set up a separate PayPal account connected to your business checking so you can keep your business and personal finances separate.
CHOICE: How will I set up my banking for receiving payments and paying expenses?
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION: How will changing from one business type now (sole prop/DBA) to another later (corporation/LLC) affect my business? How will it affect my sales, sales rank, tax reporting, sales reporting, etc. from the vendors and distributors I’ve signed up with?

From Lecture 5

This lecture is not going to be an exhaustive how-to on using InDesign. You’ve either decided to learn it and you plan to use additional resources to do so, or you are already familiar with it to some degree. This will also help you get your book set up in InDesign if you have used Quark Xpress or Pagemaker or another desktop publishing program. There are enough similarities among the programs that knowing how to do this or that in one program gives you an idea of how to do it in another.
I’ll tell you what I do, and you can follow my directions, or just use them as a jumping off point to decide how you want to design your book’s interior. (You can also read along and ask yourself if this seems easy enough to learn. I think you’ll find it is.)
What I Do
Following are directions for creating a new file, making it into a template so you have all your settings saved for future books, and then adding your current manuscript to the template to create a new document.
Open InDesign
Go to File, New, Document
Under Intent on the popup screen, leave it as Print (the default)
Under Pages, make it a few more pages than you think it needs to be
Example: My superhero story is 100,000 words and came in at about 325 pages with the manuscript, the front and back matter, and the short excerpt of the next book at the end; my 8,000-word short story is about 36 pages with front and back matter and short excerpt
Under Page Size, choose Custom, then you’ll create a custom preset for all of your books
Adjust the width and height to the sizes you want for your print book (this won’t affect your EPUB if you create one from InDesign), and type in a name for the Custom Page Size.
Example: You could create one that is 4 1/8” x 6 7/8” and call it “Mass Market,” and create one that is 5” x 8” and call it “Trade Size.” Then you only need to choose which Custom Page Size you want to use this time.
Screen shot InD New Doc 1
Click on the Add button to save the name of the Custom Page Size. If you created more than one, click on the one you want and hit OK.
Screen shot InD New Doc 2
Leave the columns section as is if you are creating a novel template. Adjust your margins according to the CreateSpace guidelines. (You may have to click on the “chain” icon next to the top and bottom margins in order for your changes to save.)
Example: I use 0.75” for the top, bottom, and inside margins, and 0.5” on the outside margin

Sign Up Today!

These are just a few examples of what you'll learn in my 4-week online class, Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing. You will receive 8 lectures with 92 pages of information, including screen shots, to help you get your book up for sale as an ebook and/or in print by the end of the class. Everyone will be encouraged to ask questions and offer suggestions to each other so that everyone can avoid or solve problems, and gain the newest information in an ever-changing industry.
Manuscript not ready? No problem. You can go through the lectures and practice with a dummy manuscript. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions about anything you don't understand so you can be ready when your manuscript is complete.
Check out my Classes page and sign up for the class. It starts Monday, January 12, 2015.
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story, "Superhero in Disguise," are now available at most online retail sites. Her newest book is A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, a Christmas wedding precursor to Unexpected Superhero.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Share OCC RWA with your friends...all 2,000 of them

Remember that commercial where the woman tells her friend about how great her shampoo is and then that friend tells two friends and so on and so on and so on?

Looking back,  the commercial may seem cheesy by today’s standards, but when you think about it, it was also kind of groundbreaking in that it predicted the power of social media.
The world has become much smaller thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. And as authors, social media is a critical tool when it comes to self-promotion, publicity and communication. That doesn’t mean you have to do EVERYTHING that’s out there. But you should at least try to do one thing and do it the best that you can.

Remember, though, that the golden rule of social media is to NOT make it all about YOU and YOUR BOOK. It’s important to, you know, be social on social media. That means interacting with others, commenting on their stuff and sharing things about you that have nothing to do with what you’re writing.

As Vice President of Communications this year for OCC RWA, my goal is to get the word out about our great organization so that we can find new members and find new resources and networking contacts for our current members. Social media is going to be a big part of my focus in 2015 and I’d love it if you could help!

Whether it’s linking the posts from this blog or tweeting our online class information or sharing our special events on Facebook, it would be great if you could help me spread the word whenever and wherever you can.

You can find OCC RWA online here:

See you online!

Sabrina Sol
VP, Communications
OCC RWA

P.S. Oh, and in case it was bugging you, that commercial was for Faberge Organics Shampoo. And it starred Heather Locklear! Here’s the link in case you want share with a friend or two..
And so on and so on