Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Snippets #Sunday Snips

For today please enjoy another snippet from "Lynx" Rodeo Romance.

Rachel smiled.  Lynx wasn't at all what she'd expected.  Sexy, take-charge, Texas rodeo cowboy one moment, and charming, non-threatening date the next.  She didn't know what to make of the situation.

Or Lynx Maddox.

It was only the cologne, she reminded herself when Lynx leaned closer and pointed out the skill of the fiddle player--she always loved the scent of a good cologne.  Warm and musky.  Or, maybe it was his reputation that held such appeal--he was a rodeo cowboy.  Bull riders flirted with death and danger every day, and that alone could be a real turn on for some women.

Still she knew none of those things was the real reason she was reacting this way.

His heart-stopping green eyes were her undoing.  Weren't they?  But what about his smile?  she asked herself.  Heavens, he had a gorgeous smile.

Please hop over to to the other talented and read more "snippets"!  (I'm hopping over there right now!)

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1— #sundaysnips&stuff

What woman doesn’t love a cowboy?

This Sunday’s Snippet is from my Contemporary Western Romance “Lynx”. Rodeo Romance.

"I've never been to Cheyenne, Wyoming or Frontier Days," Rachel said.

Lynx toyed with a long strand of her black hair and brushed it away from her face.  "Cheyenne, Wyoming is a rodeo town, Frontier Days is a three-day  celebration, " Lynx said.  "Its's a huge tourist attraction, and the town goes all-out for it.  The locals say Cheyenne onlyl has two seasons--winter and Frontier Days."

Dan and Charlene turned their attention back to the couple.

"Don't be talking about going just yet," Charlene said, clutching Dan's hand.  "You fellas just got home yesterday."

"Now Charlene," Dan warned.  "You know how much purse money's at stake here."

"I know. . ."

                Rachel melted against the back of her chair, as Lynx’s finger tip brushed a strand of hair from her face.  Her body shivered all the way to her toes.  Fidgeting with a silver bracelet on her wrist, Rachel didn’t know how to deal with this type of covert seduction.  “You’ll have a good time then,” she said addressing her comment to both men.

                “Everyone has a good time,” Lynx clarified.

                Dan chuckled. “Everyone who’s able, anyway.”

                Rachel reached for her glass, glancing a Dan. “I don’t understand.”

                Dan pushed his hat further back on his head, revealing a bright crop of red hair.  “I landed in front of the angry end of a bull last year and broke my arm.  Lynx had a hell of a good time, though.”

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Have a wonderful Sunday,


Saturday, July 23, 2016

What Makes a Novel Memorable? #RR Blog Hop 7/23/16

Topic for July: What makes a novel memorable?

The best stories connect with readers on a visceral level. They transport us to another time and place and put us in a different “skin,” where we face challenges we may never know in life. And yet, the commonality of the story problem draws us onward and, in solving it vicariously through the protagonist, changes us.
Another feature of a memorable story is characters that live off the page. One of the highest compliments I’ve never received for my novel “Lynx”, Rodeo Romance came when one reader told me she thought about my story constantly. She said that Lynx and Rachel’s story seemed so real, so heart wrenching, and their love so very enduring.  She said that she was going through a difficult time in her life and my story gave her hope.  Hope.  Hope for someone during a desperate time—I felt blessed that she shared her story.  I was also humbled.  It is moment such as this that I know just how powerful worlds and stories are to our readers.
While I never sit down at the keyboard and say, “I think I will write a powerful, life-changing story today.”  What I do, by nature, is select a social issue for the core of my stories.  Since my stories are character driven and often told in the first person, the emotion has a natural flow.
How do you create this type of engagement with your story?
Go beyond the five senses.  Your reader must feel your character’s emotions.  Your reader must forget there is a world outside of your story.

Embrace idiosyncrasies.  As teenagers everyone wanted to fit in, be one of the crowd.  Your character isn’t like anyone else.  Give him an unexpected, but believable trait.  In “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”, 99-cents for the next week on, my heroine, a Zombie has a pet. Not a zombie pet. Not a dog, or a cat.  She has a teddy bear hamster named Gertie.
Make them laugh. It doesn’t need to be slap-stick.  Just a little comic relief when the reader least expects it to happen.
Make them cry.  Remember the scene in the movie classic, Romancing the Stone, where Joan Wilder is crying when she writes the final scene in her novel?  I find this is the key.  If you are crying, your reader will be crying too.
If you are writing a romance, make them fall in love.  Make the magic last.  The first meeting, first kiss, the moment of falling in love.  These are the memories our readers savor, wait for in our stories.  Don’t disappoint them.
As Emily Dickinson, said so well: 
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
Thank you, once again, Rhobin for this month’s topic. 
Please visit the members of our RR blog hop today and see what each one has posted.

Judith Copek
Beverley Bateman
Skye Taylor
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Helena Fairfax
Marci Baun
Rachael Kosinski
Connie Vines
Rhobin Courtright

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Social Media Tips for Authors

I am blogging today! Please stop by at Dishin' It Out.  Even if you aren't a writer, you may find the social media info & tips helpful,

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Software Programs for Writers # Sunday Snips & Stuff

As everyone knows I like to use software programs and social media.

I was reading my friend, Beverly Bateman's, latest blog topic titled Writers Software Programs (Blogging with Beverly on when I realized this was a very interesting topic.

I also began to wonder exactly how many programs I used when writing, plotting my novels, stories, etc.   I feel the content would be of interest to writer, readers, and those who man be looking for a program help them make it though the rigors of a AP, university level, or an extension class.

My go to program is Power Structure purchased via  Since I work in segments: Chapter 1 - 3, etc. rather than scene by scene or chapter by chapter, this program is adaptable to my thought process.  I am able to work in three Acts, Chapters, Scenes, or any structure model of preference.

Conflict, Subplot, plot point,  You can also change almost any term used in Power Structure to suit your personal preference.  I attended a class by Chris Vogler, a Hollywood screen writer, who uses Joseph Campbell's "A Hero's Journey" as a plotting bible.  Since I have followed Joseph Campbell's works and find the "A Hero's Journey" the best way for me to write a story (with the look of 3 x 5 cards when I feel like experiencing a flashback to my freelance magazine days).

Beverly also mentioned Dramatica Pro.  Pricey, yes.  I believe for characterization, especially for detailed historical novels, or when writing a continuing series, this program was a good investment.
This program allows you to work on levels for character development. If you so wish, you may print a StoryGuide at each stage of development.  This program also has a number of templates to choose fro, e.g., screenplay, novel, short story.  Each comes with an appropriate number of archetypal characters already created, ensuring that each character has a clear dramatic function in the story.

There is also a Plot Progression Window which lets me examine where to place a pivotal point.  There is also a Spin-the-Model Brainstorming option.  This helps when, heaven forbid, you have writer's block--and much, much less painful than pounding your forehead on your desk until your muse comes up with a plan.

On my iPad I have several program: My Writing (which I seldom open), A Novel Idea (where I have grains of thoughts/names of future novels) this takes the place of scribbles from my lip liner on discarded pieces of paper I'd find in the depths of my tote bag. I Do Notepad & I Do Notepad Pro which I will use but it have a devil of a time retrieving what I have saved.

The Journal app is good for free-flowing thought/plotting etc.  and also for using as a writer's journal.  You can create labels, change the font and even add a background picture.  This is were I many place the notes from my character interviews.

For more information about by novels, or to purchase my novels, please click on the bookcover, or links at the top of my blog.

Please visit the other authors in this weeks' Sunday Snip & Stuff.

Happy Reading,

Connie Vines (Tricia McGill) (Ginger Simpson) (Janet Waldon)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Snips & Stuff #6/26/16

Research—Does Inaccuracy in a Novel Bother You?  

Does it bother me? 


 However, in my case, there are varying degrees of irritation.  If it is an easily found fact, or a fact that any functioning adult should be aware of then, yes—I am very irritated and will probably not finish the novel.  On the other hand if current verbiage is used or the description of an item of clothing is more modern, that could be the writer’s choice.  The writer may feel that her ‘readers’ wish to have the ‘flavor’ of a historical story without the genealogy charts or gritty reality of the era. Then I am okay.  But to pass the facts off as accurate/ or marketed to make the reader believe this is not a fictionalized story—as in “The Other Boleyn Sister” or Disney’s “Pocahontas” animated movie (with what I like to call the Vulcan-mind-meld when the Hero and Heroine suddenly speak and understand each other),  I do become angry.  Apparently, I clamp my teeth, and my husband swears, that I growl when these movies become a topic of conversation.

We all make mistakes, I remind myself.  Alternatively, the copy-editor adds/ deletes a needed fact.  Moreover, sometime we simply ‘thought’ we removed it from the final draft.  Still sloppy research makes for sloppy writing.  If you do not like research, build your own world/town/or, do not give the reader a date or place to hang her hat on.  You and add a statement:  liberties were taken; the mistakes are my own, etc. 

Any professional writer knows there is a lot more to the job than simply writing. There is also revising, editing, promoting, and much more. Before I even consider typing: Chapter One.  Whether I am writing, historical, or fantasy, I conducted days—if not months or even years, gather my research material and scheduling interviews.  

Research is vital to every writer.  Contemporary novels required daily research to keep up-to-date on the latest tech item, hairstyle or whatever relates to your storyline.  
Every encounter with a new person or visiting a new place is an opportunity for better, more descriptive writing. Writers never truly take a vacation, or turn off the research part of her/his brain.

So how do I organized my research material?  (Tossing everything into a large bin is oh-so-not-the-way to be organized.)

#1: Keep a File Folder for Ideas

I have files where I stash clippings of articles on specific topics I feel will come up again, or will one day make great short stories/articles.  I have plain colored folders for “shared” topics (I write multiple genres), cute folders (for YA/Teen topics), action folders for supernatural stories, etc.

These clippings are often story generators or prompts to open a chapter/create a pivot point. How many times have you heard something on the radio or watched something on television and thought, “Wouldn’t that be so great in my next novel”?
Story prompts can be anything that you find interesting, anything that relates to your genre or area of writing interest. Because my books are character driven, I tend to be drawn to articles that talk about the human condition (i.e., why we do the things we do) or specific topics that I feel relate to my particular ‘character’.

 #2: Story Premise Research First

When you start a new project, you must make some decisions. What is the theme of your book? (We might also think of this step as “what is the premise of your book?”) The answer to this question will guide your starting research.

My third book, Whisper upon the Water, focused a lot on the living conditions and societal attitudes about Native American children. I already knew that Native American children were forced to attend government run boarding schools after the Indian Wars, but I did not know about the process, and how it affected the children or how they adapted. Therefore, I began with interviews, tours of the schools still in operation and trips to historical archives and reservations. 

Before I wrote a single word, I looked into this, and the answers I found are what formulated my plot points. I needed this foundation of research to create a convincing plot, otherwise I would not tell the story correctly.  I wanted the truth, I wanted historical accuracy and I wanted my readers to have an emotional connection to my characters.  

Poor research in the beginning often results in a manuscripts dying at the halfway point. Think of this step as the foundation of your novel.

#3: First-Hand Accounts

As a rule, I set my stories in placed I have lived or visited.  However, a writer does not have to go to a city/country to get a feeling for it.

Online Resources

Travel sites, local blogs, and YouTube all have a place in a writer’s arsenal. In particular:
  • Travel Sites often have detailed maps and downloadable audio walking tours that can give you context for notable buildings and directional substance for urban areas to include in your book.
  • YouTube is a major resource, often underutilized by writers. Those seemingly normal videos are great for providing local terminology, dialect, visual perspective and even minor details like the amount of traffic at a particular park or on a particular street.
 #4: Details

  • Using Google Maps and Streetview, for my upcoming release anthology at BWL: Gumbo Ya Ya—for women who like romance Cajun & men Hot & Spicy! I was able to get a street view of that area and I could ‘walk’ the streets as they appear in New Orleans. The Streetview feature setting on Google Maps plops you down right at street level and gives you a 360-degree view of everything including traffic, crowds, and architecture.  While I do have my personal photos and memories of the city, it is always good to make certain the details are ‘just right’.
#5: Remember to Write

You can always do a fact check on the smaller items as part of the final revision process.

When I am dictating or typing my story, unless an earth-shattering event is in the works, I do not stop the process.  I will type:** research time line of Spanish Flu or   ** insert the popular song year, and keep writing.  When I go back over the material, I will have time to add the particulars.

Research is fun.  Unlike may authors, research in my favorite part of writing.  Like a method actor, I immerse myself in the process.  Hobbies, Music, Books, and Food (well, not food when I wrote my Zombie novella, “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”. right now, however, it is shrimp Creole, pecan pie and coffee with chicory).  Research need not be cumbersome. If you are interested in your subject matter, then it is not work. It is just another part of writing a book.

 I believe it is writing a book that is rich in research helps to separate the writers from the multi-published authors.

Readers, how do you feel about this topic?  How important is historical accuracy to you?

Please stop by and see what my writer friends have to talk about today.

Happy Reading,