‘How do you begin a book?’

Sue Moorcroft blog

Previous posts have concerned how I feel in the middle of a book, and at the end. Now seems a good time to cover how I begin, as I’m at that stage with ‘Just for the Holidays’.

Beginning a book is a little like falling in love. I think of it when I should be thinking about something else, I don’t hear everything that’s said to me, I feel a little uncertain, a little apprehensive, a lot excited. What will happen? What if …?

Every book’s different but here, loosely, is where and how a book begins:

Idea

Ideas come to me through reading or hearing something, thinking about my past, or just, apparently, out of the ether. If an idea sticks in my mind, my subconscious plays with it. Inconveniently, the ideas my subconscious likes often come halfway through another book, so I have to try and keep the…

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Out this July Unshatter Me by Michelle Diana Lowe

Unshatter Me…

Alena Pavlis moved to Surrey, on the outskirts of London, to escape her past. Now, heading off to college, she hopes that she can finally move on and start a brand new chapter. During her first day at Capendale University, she meets Phillip Gregson, the cute streetwise guy who introduces her to a whole new world.

At first, Phillip seems to be the answer to all of her problems. Yet quickly she finds that her childhood trauma is creeping in, and so are outside influences. As the relationship reaches its breaking point, Alena starts to pursue her own dreams and aspirations. Just as she is finding her feet again and preparing to audition for Capendale’s choir – the Coolette Singers, a perilous series of events turns her life upside down. Left with no other choice, Alena must confront the demons of her past head-on, even though it means risking everything.

unshatter me

Title: Unshatter Me

Author: Michelle Diana Lowe

Genres: YA/Fiction

Subcategories: Romance, Interracial, College

Target Age Group: 16 – 25 years

Release Date: July 2015

Publisher: UrbanEdge Publishing

Publisher’s website: www.urbanedgepublishing.com

Author’s website: www.michelledianalowe.com

ISBN number: 978-0-9862517-9-5

Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – Read Your Work Out Loud

Live to Write - Write to Live

victrola dog artYou have probably heard this advice before. It isn’t new. It isn’t rocket science.

But, do you actually read your work out loud?

Experts across all genres recommend reading your work out loud as part of your editing process. There’s something about hearing a piece spoken out loud that makes it easy to spot weak spots. I use this technique on everything from blog posts to essays to short stories to business correspondence. I’m never sorry I did it.

Jane Friedman wrote on the Writer’s Digest blog about how reading her work out loud helped her reveal filler, expose boring descriptions, and hone her voice. Joanna Penn produced a video about how reading her novel Pentecost out loud (start to finish) helped her improve consistency, dialog, pacing, and also spot typos. In an interview with Fast Company, David Sedaris said, “I used to hate it when a…

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**RELEASE BLITZ** ~ Tin, by KS Thomas (includes excerpt, book trailer and giveaway)

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blogcover

TIN
AUTHOR: K.S. Thomas
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE: May 27, 2015
COVER DESIGN: Regina Wamba with Mae I Design
CONTENT WARNING: Adult content! (Language, situations…sex – yikes!)
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Men and I are done. Whatever entertaining notions I enjoy while screwing around with the random guys that cross my path, are exactly that. Entertaining.

I don’t want more. I’m not capable of more. More would mean feeling. Would entail wanting. Desiring. And a slew of other emotions I haven’t experienced in over three years. And it’s not due to any stupid naïve intention of trying to keep my heart from breaking, nor is it as a result of having it broken by some poor slob who should have known better.
I can’t feel. I don’t have a heart. Period. And it’s going to take more than following some magic yellow brick road to get me a new one. Even if that…

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Chapter Two, Fatal Jealousy

Black Widows Series Book #1

Fatal Jealousy

She’s the number one suspect when all the men she’s ever dated begin to die… one by one…

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Chapter Two

Ellie spoke into the phone impatiently, “Ellsa, are you sure he’s coming?” She hated being stood up, as much as she hated blind dates.

“I’m sure he’ll be there. Have you been watching out for him? He’s pretty hard to miss.” She answered impatiently.

Ellie stood up from the table to leave, “Your definition of a hot guy is very different from mine.” She wasn’t going to wait any longer; she’d just tell Ellsa she did meet the guy. It’s not like she’d interrogate her for details- wait she would. She loved her twin sister for worrying about her, but when it came to her love life, she just wished she’d keep her nose out of it.

“Artists are tortured souls,” Ellsa said, with revulsion, “So your taste in men and how you get them is horrible. So, for once, do us both a favor and do as I say.”

Ellie went quiet for a moment, her grip tightening around the phone. She felt guilty for ruining another one of her sister’s relationships. It’s not like she did it on purpose, but for some reason they just tend to like her better than Ellsa once she’d met and spent time with them. Once, they went speed dating just for the hell of it, and the two guys Ellsa liked seemed to want Ellie more, which was a little surprising.

Ellsa and Ellie shared the same features; dark skin, tall, skinny and with curves in all the right places. They both had average long hair- Ellie wore hers in loose curls and Ellsa wore hers depending what was in fashion. Ellsa was sophisticated with very expensive taste, but Ellie on the other hand was simple and loved the rock- chic style.

“Okay…” Ellie conceded.

“If you hadn’t noticed, I can’t lip read through the receiver! Speak up or text… or better yet, go buy a phone made in this decade!”

“There is nothing…” Ellie yelled. Then she held her phone over her head like she was about to throw it. Arrgh! Ellsa was getting on her last nerve!

“Ellie? Ellie! I bet that contraption is dead! Stupid dial up…” Ellsa’s loud voice came through the receiver.

Ellie brought the phone back to her ear and patiently interrupted her sister’s rants, “Ellsa…”

“What did you do to get it to work? Knock it on the table?”

Ellie bit back a hiss. I need a drink!

She walked to the bar, sat down and took out the piece of paper with the guy’s name on it, “Okay I’ll wait five more minutes, if he doesn’t get here Ellsa….”

“He’ll be there,” she said, sounding very sure of herself, before she hung up.

Ellie put her cell back in her purse before she ordered a shot of vodka. She pulled down her dress when it rode a few inches higher up her thigh. She hated the dress, it wasn’t her style.

She ordered another shot and a beer. Ellsa would disapprove of the butch drink, but with every minute that passed Ellie was sure the guy wouldn’t turn up so, screw it! She tossed back her shot before she took a swig of the beer right out of the bottle.

“Something doesn’t quite fit in this picture,” A man’s voice said, next to her. His tone was low and very seductive.

Taking another swig of beer without looking at the guy, “Oh yeah, what?”

She liked his voice but she was worried his face wouldn’t match it. In most cases they never do…. maybe after a few more shots she thought to herself as she signaled the bartender for another shot.

“You have an expensive dress on, with equally expensive and high taste in shoes and jewelry. Your hairdo must have cost as much as my rent and your make-up is like most rich celebrities. God forbid they have a bad picture taken by the annoying paparazzi.”

Ellie laughed as she turned to look at the man who was boldly taking her facade apart, “Wait, what?” She was gobsmacked by the man’s smile. She bit her lip to hide her relief as she looked him over. His face and body did match his voice. Ellie sucked in a breath. He was a tequila fire bomb!

“Don’t get me wrong you are easy on the eyes in that get up, but it doesn’t look anything like you,” Carson signaled the bartender for a shot.

She turned to look at him, one leg crossed over the other. She didn’t mind that the dress rod up a few more inches. She prayed her blind date didn’t turn up! “Considering you’ve just met me, how would you know what I’m like?” She asked, with a smile, lifting her knee more over the other and accidentally grazing his leg.

Carson swallowed hard and smiled. “Well, no one with such expensive taste would be hitting back a beer and shots.”

Ellie laughed, taking another swig of her beer. “She’d probably sip on wine and nurse the glass for an hour. She would not want to be perceived as one who loves her liquor,” describing her sister’s drinking manner.

“Let me guess, your friend dressed you up for a blind date with someone more her type?”

“My sister, and yes, I think she did. The only problem is I don’t think he’s going to turn up. I hate blind dates.”

“Well,” Carson raised his bottle to hers, “his loss, and my gain. I’m Carson by the way, Dale Carson.” extending his hand to her.

Taking his hand, “Ellie Jabari.” They lingered quietly with their hands in warm contact before she broke the silence, “Wait. Did you say Dale Carson?”

“Yeah,” he chuckled, “it doesn’t sound like a black guy’s name huh?”

Feeling a little embarrassed, “Well, not exactly…”

“I can explain that. My dad is Scottish and my mom is black, she’s from Boston.”

“Good to know, but that wasn’t what I meant. My blind date’s name is Dale Carson,” she laughed, more at the awkward situation that was bound to follow after her confession than at herself.

She shook her head looking him over again “You are the guy my sister set me up with… which doesn’t make any sense.”

Carson looked at her with a mix of confusion and intrigue. He knew a lot of women and none of them would set him up on a blind date, let alone with their own sister. “What’s her name?”

“Ellsa. You don’t look like the type she’d hang out with. Well you do, just not for the right reasons.” Her eyes shrunk in confusion. She could see her sister sleeping with this guy. Who wouldn’t? But she couldn’t believe her sister actually wanted her to date her leftovers. Weren’t we trying to avoid these kinds of situations, she thought to herself. But she and her sister looked alike, the way she was dressed, he could have mistaken her for Ellsa easily, but he didn’t. “How do you know my sister?”

“I don’t, how does your sister know me?”

“My sister and I don’t exactly move in the same circles. Maybe someone told her about you… or you might be lying to me?”

“Trust me, I don’t know your sister, I don’t date the stiff type.” He answered, with a charming smile.

Ellie laughed, “She’s not exactly that stiff, just set in her ways. Either way, I’m glad I met you, you’ve made my pitiful boring night very interesting.”

He signaled to the bartender to get them more drinks, “The night isn’t over yet, it could get even more interesting.” reaching down under her legs to get to the frame of the stool, he pulled it and her towards him, trapping her crossed legs between his. There was no way she could move from that position without falling flat on her back.

Ellie felt a little sweaty, the sound of her racing heart beat loud in her ears. She felt claustrophobic, and she could feel her throat dry out under Carson’s penetrating gaze. Even if she wanted to move, she couldn’t. She wasn’t going to risk embarrassing herself in front of this guy, not if she could help it.

Carson smiled, he felt like a predator taunting his prey. He had her bagged. It was a good thing it was the weekend, because tonight was going to be a very exhausting night. He put his hand on her knee and slowly began tracing his fingers up her leg to her thigh.

She caught his hand once it reached the edge of her dress at her thigh, “It’s not going to get that interesting,” shifting his hand onto his own knee. She was very attracted to him, but she also knew he was the type to hit and run. She wasn’t going to make it that easy for him; he’d have to work hard for it. “How about we crawl before we start running?”

He shifted his hand back to her knee, intrigued and amused by the game she’d presented. Chasing only made things even more interesting for him, “Okay. We’ll call this date number one then.”

Ellie laughed at the tip-off, “Dale Carson, I’m not your ordinary kind of girl. I live by my own rules.”

“I have a feeling this is going to be very interesting,” with a smile, tucking his fingers in the crook of her knee as he drew circles lightly with his thumb on her knee.

“You said that already.” Ellie stared at him, fascinated and amused at the man’s arrogance. As much as she didn’t practice it, she wouldn’t mind a one night stand with him. He seemed like the type to blow his horn and live up to it, but this was now a game to him, a game she had every intention of winning.

Two plates of fries and sandwiches were placed in front of them, “Enjoy.” The bartender said, with a courtesy smile.

Ellie shook her head, “Sorry but we didn’t order anything.”

Then he settled his gaze on Carson, as he slid the ketchup, salt and pepper on the counter to them.

“I did.” Carson offered, picking a fry and tossing it in his mouth.

“I didn’t know they served simple food here.”

Carson looked over to the dining area. He’d forgotten to do a complete sweep after the distraction her legs had presented. She was right. The low jazz music playing in the background went well with the dim lights. The waiters in penguin suits quietly moving around the tables like a well organised troop. And of course the fine dinners in designer labels.

“How did you get in here dressed like that?” Ellie laughed.

“I paid extra.” He smiled when her brows furrowed.

“I didn’t pay…” she stopped. Her eyebrows lifted and her lips spread in a smile, “You seduced the hostess, didn’t you?”

Silently, he picked up the ketchup and doused her fries.

“Were you…”

He slide fries into her mouth to silence her, “Now I see why you need your sister to set you up on blind dates. Are you going to bring up your ex-boyfriends next?”

Ellie narrowed her eyes at him. She soaked a fry in ketchup then, after wiping it on his lips and cheeks slid it into his open mouth.

She laughed, leaning back and almost falling off the stool. Carson held her waist to steady her, “You are lucky you are so cute.”

She picked up a napkin and wiped the mess off, “No, you are lucky you are so damn cute.”

He rested his hand back on her knee, “Another beer?”

Ellie nodded, glancing at his hand. “Thank you for the fries.”

He squeezed her knee making her giggle. His smile deepened at the sweet melody of her voice, “You can thank me on our third date.” He didn’t mean it as a joke, but it set her off and he had to hold on to her waist again.

She bit her lips together to muffle the laughs when she noted the eyes set on them. He didn’t seem to notice- his eyes didn’t move away from her. “Eat.” she ordered, feeding him another fry.

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Connie L. Smith’s newest release Jivin’ Tango

Blurb:

Lila and Austin have known each other since she befriended his younger brother when she was a toddler. In fact, since her parents moved from her hometown, Lila’s lived with Austin’s family. The two are friends, though more of the teasing, taunting breed than the BFF variety.

But all it takes is one moment for everything to change…

For Austin, that moment comes when Lila performs a rumba in the school’s auditorium to qualify for the state dance competition, the young woman on stage so far-removed from the little girl in his memories.

For Lila, the moment is a reflected image of Austin preparing for prom, the guy standing in front of his mirror hardly resembling the child that spent so much of his youth pestering her.

Will they find a way to admit to themselves and their families that their feelings are deeper than friendship? And can Lila focus on this building relationship – and deal with her unstable ex – and still win the dance contest?

Jivin' Tango.v3

Excerpt

Lila rolls her eyes, then peeks my way. “This is my friend, Austin. My ex-boyfriend was a jerk, and Austin was nice enough to let me tag along with him tonight.”

I don’t like that she said “friend” where “date” should be, but I really have no right to expect anything different. We’re not involved, and I have a girlfriend. I nod at Beth. “Nice to meet you.” I shift my focus to Trent. “Did she really gain weight?”

Lila smacks my shoulder with the back of her hand. “Not you, too!”

Trent groans, his expression filled with humor. “Like ten pounds.”

“I didn’t gain ten pounds!”

Trent just shrugs.

“I didn’t,” she insists again.

One of his brows lifts, and he takes another sip of his drink.

Then she scoffs through the smile that’s been fighting to break free since they started pestering each other. “If I gained ten pounds, how did I fit into my prom dress?”

“They let it out,” he offers. “And you went vegan for a few days.”

I’m not annoyed with their banter at this point. Instead, I’m chuckling, and Lila spares me an extremely fake scowl. “What’s so funny, Austin?”

“Nothing,” I rush to reply. “Nothing at all. Obviously, Trent’s delusional.”

Trent snorts. “Wow. She’s already got you whipped.”

I decide not to argue, mostly on the grounds I’m finding little evidence to refute the claim.

Lila, on the other hand, isn’t quite as docile about Trent’s commentary. It’s fairly easy to tell because she throws a napkin at him and resumes her complaints. “That was sarcasm, you dolt.” After she finishes her insult, she’s turns to playfully glare at me. “Which I don’t appreciate.”

I’m staring at her now. I know I am, and I know people are watching, and I still can’t make myself stop. She’s so beautiful with the teasing glint in those too-blue eyes, too beautiful to not mention it. “Even if you did gain weight, it didn’t make a difference. You’re the prettiest girl here.”

Nervousness immediately surfaces on her features, eyes wide and mouth slightly gaping, and she draws in a quick breath. “You haven’t seen everyone here.”

“Don’t need to,” I assure her. “You have them all beat. I knew that before we left the house.”

BUY LINKS:

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-jivin039tango-1768456-176.html

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/jivin-tango

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XJTWERG

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jivin-tango-connie-l-smith/1121906598?ean=2940151530965

 

jiConnie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clsmithbooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/conniel0194/

Blog/Main Site: http://clsmithbooks.blogspot.com/

ReadWave: http://www.readwave.com/connie.l.smith/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257320.Connie_L_Smith

Guest post: Amy’s top ten steps to bagging that all important book deal! by Amy Lynch

MorgEn Bailey - Editor, Comp Columnist/Judge, Tutor & Writing Guru

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by Amy Lynch.

AmyAmy’s top ten steps to bagging that all important book deal!

  1. Write about what you know. It’s a cliché, but it is true. I know nothing about space exploration. Ditto the history of Japan. I do, however, know about relationships, babies and weddings. Hence, my stories often revolve around these things. This is comfortable territory for me, and it doesn’t feel forced.
  2. Persistence pays off! Rejection is all part of the author experience, but if you really believe in yourself, and truly want to be published, don’t stop until you get a yes!
  3. Use criticism to improve. This is easier said than done, and something I struggled with and had to learn to master. In order to get published, you may have to improve your manuscript. Hiring an editor may be necessary, as it is hard to see…

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Weekend Edition – The Secret of Creative Space Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

Live to Write - Write to Live

Your writing needs more than time. It needs space.

space nebulaThere is never enough time to practice your art. You are forever battling against the many demands life puts on the precious hours in your day, fighting for your creative life. You eventually learn that you’re never going to simply find the time, you have to make the time, stealing a few minutes here and a few minutes there. Making choices in order to make art.

So you work hard to carve out pockets of time for yourself. Maybe you get up a little early, or stay up a little late. Maybe you forgo an hour of television, or learn to work amidst the chaos of children who haven’t yet gone to bed. Lunch breaks, waiting in line, your public transport commute – you commandeer these moments for your creative crusade. Each day you wrest another small bit of…

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