IWSG Blog Post - Author Envy
The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG are Diedre Knight, Tonya Drecker, Bish Denham, Olga Godim, and JQ Rose!
March 1 question - Have you ever read a line in a novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?
Absolutely. All the time. But as I sit here grasping for examples, I'm coming up short. Off I go to Goodreads to gather quotes from my recently read books:
"It had occurred to her that she smiled more often to preempt someone else’s displeasure than to express her joy."
― Evie Dunmore, Portrait of a Scotsman
"Having regrets is the only sign that you’ve done anything interesting with your life."
― Lisa Kleypas, Secrets of a Summer Night
"What part [of me] did you miss the most?"
"Your mind," she said, and smiled at his expression.
"I was hoping for a far more depraved answer than that."
"Your mind is depraved," she told him solemnly.
― Lisa Kleypas, A Wallflower Christmas
Every line from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files inspired author envy as well, but it's been so long that I can't remember any examples!
Plotwise, I remember feeling all kinds of things from the twists in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. I wasn't an author yet at the time, but if I had been, I'd have felt envy.
Sale x Two
Books one and two in the Blue Nova Saga are BOTH on sale this week for $.99. If you've been waiting to read the ebooks, now is the time to head to Amazon!
An arch enemies-to-lovers story with humor, epic battles, and twists you won't see coming! Book 1 can be read as a stand alone.
Falling for the Villain established Blue Nova's super-powered world. Now, Heart of Hero reaches beyond River City. The world of heroes and villains is about to get a lot bigger.
IWSG Blog Post - Covers
The awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner!
February 1 question - If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?
I paid a graphic artist to design the covers for my self-published books. He is a friend whose work I've always admired, and I love the comic book vibe of his art. I sent him SO many reference photos for how I wanted Blue Nova, Dr. Vile, and the Citadel to look. Somehow, he amalgamated all my ideas into a gorgeous image that represents the book perfectly. Looking at the covers of the first two books inspires me whenever I hit writer's block. I know people say "Don't judge a book by its cover," but respectfully, that's nonsense. The cover is part of the experience. As a reader, I pause to glance at the cover repeatedly. It helps set the mood. Maybe that's why I'm not crazy about the clip-art-looking people on the covers of contemporary romance novels. Yes, the covers are discreet. And yes, Fabio was overused as a cover model. But dang it, I want something beautiful to look at, even if it's just the heroine's face and a bouquet of peonies!
Anyway, I digress. With regard to my own covers, I'm hoping my designer friend will create one for the third book in my trilogy too. After my Blue Nova books, I think I'll try a different genre, possibly under another pen name. I'm considering self-made covers for future books, but it will depend on how good I can make them look.
The only time I've made my own covers was when writing for Wattpad. I created them on Canva for free. It was fun and easy, but the result was far from professional. Canva also had licensing rules to consider. I believe it was fine to use those covers for up to 10,000 units (a number I'll never get close to, and even if I do, that's a GOOD problem). If Canva's rules are still the same, I might use it in future. We'll see how much of my graphic design class I remember from university!
What about you? What skill level do you have for designing covers? What kinds of covers do you prefer on books you read?
The awesome co-hosts for the January 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin!
January 4 question - Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year?
Just one word? That is a difficult thing to ask of a writer! ;)
For me, 2022 was about completing and publishing book 2 of my trilogy, so 2023 will be about completing and publishing book 3. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to finishing this series. I keep getting so many brilliant ideas for other things to write, and it's hard to focus! I suppose that's my word for 2023. FOCUS. I must focus on finishing my Blue Nova trilogy...and finishing it WELL. After all the care I've put in, Blue Nova's story needs to have an exciting and satisfying ending.
To that end, I have a few methods for maintaining focus:
First, I keep a list of other ideas as they come to me. I'm allowed to jot down notes about those other stories, but I'm not allowed to write the stories themselves. Keeping that list lets me feel like those ideas aren't lost. I'll get to them eventually.
Second, I keep myself excited about my current story and characters. I visualize how new characters will interact with the old. I think about what story lines will be most challenging to my main characters. I consider ways to force them to develop. The most helpful and stimulating activity is building my imaginary cast list. I love coming up with the people I'd want to play the characters. It's something a lot of authors (and readers) do. Maybe I'll post the list on my blog in the new year. It will be fun to see if anyone else agrees with my casting choices!
What about you? What is your word for 2023?
The awesome co-hosts for the December 7 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!
December 7 question - It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?
I don't usually set writing goals for December. I don't want to stress myself during a time when my kids are out of school and eager to do Christmas activities. We take our time putting up decorations, making Christmas crafts, driving around town looking at lights, buying gifts for loved ones, and baking tons of yummy treats. That's not to say I stop writing. I do what I can when I can, and anything that makes it onto a page is a welcome surprise. The past two years, I've published a new novel in the month of November, so the weeks afterward are focused on promoting rather than writing. The new year is when I will buckle down and churn out the third (and final) book in my series. I'm so excited to finish the trilogy next year and wrap up my characters' journeys!
It's finally here! Heart of a Hero is now available for ebook, print, and Kindle Unlimited. To celebrate, the ebook version of Falling for the Villain is on sale for $.99 this week. You can take advantage of the limited-time deal on Amazon's US and UK marketplaces. Happy reading!
The awesome co-hosts for the November 2 posting of the IWSG are Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton!
November 2 question - November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?
I participated in NaNoWriMo last year and wrote the entire first draft of Heart of a Hero in one month. I was so proud of myself! I wrote one chapter per weekday, taking off weekends and holidays. It sounded good on paper to write 80,000 words so quickly, but it caused problems. When I read the completed draft in December, I realized how daunting my edits would be. There were big problems with structure, characters, plot, you name it. The pressure of NaNoWriMo caused me to push through when I should have paused to address the issues. Trying to edit such a mess of a manuscript was painful and took much longer than the slow-and-steady approach I used on my first book. The experience has made me swear I will NEVER do NaNoWriMo again. In the end, I did create something I'm proud of, but I wish I'd gotten there a better way.
For book three in my trilogy, I want to try a two-month process. I'll alternate every other day between writing and editing. That way, I'll have breathing room to correct problems as I find them. After Heart of a Hero is released on November 7, I'll get started and see if my new approach works for me!
Heart of a Hero is completed!!! It will be available for pre-order on Amazon soon. Release day is November 7. In the meantime, I'm thrilled to share the cover art with you. Here it is! I'll post the link for pre-order later this week.
Dating a supervillain is hard enough... Don't let the Citadel come between you.
Since joining the Citadel, nothing is going as Aubree expected. Her relationship with Erik is strained, she’s neglecting her city, and to top it off, Defender training is kicking her butt. Going home a failure would break her heart, but staying could mean losing the villain who has always been in her corner. As torn as she feels, Aubree soon faces bigger concerns than her personal struggles.
When a dark secret comes to light, it forces her to question everything she believes about superheroes and sets her on a path to face the greatest foe that she, or the world, has ever seen. Amidst loss and shocking revelations, will Aubree find the strength to be a true hero without betraying her own heart? And can her relationship with Erik survive when heroes and villains clearly aren’t meant to be?
The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!
October 5 question - What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?
Romance is my favorite genre. The best thing about reading romance is the feeling of falling in love. Adventure and fantasy are fun to experience vicariously, but love is best in my book.
Some people may look down on love stories and use terms like “trashy romance novels,” but creating romance is harder than you think! Character development is more important in this genre than any other. On top of developing two main characters who are complex, compelling, and relatable, the author must create a spark between them. The reader should feel their magnetic pull in every conversation, touch, look, and interaction. Chemistry between two made-up people is no simple thing. When I read a romance novel, I can forgive plot holes, contrived situations, and typos, but I cannot do without that indescribable feeling that these two people HAVE to be together. It’s even better when the characters don’t realize they’re meant to be, but the reader knows beyond a doubt! As a reader, if I don’t feel the conviction within a few chapters, I put the book down.
New Release Coming Soon
I’ve seen the preliminary cover art for Heart of a Hero, and it is going to look so cool! I’m putting the finishing touches on the book, and I’m hoping to release it on November 1. I can’t wait to share this labor of love!
The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Olga Godim, Michelle Wallace, and Louise - Fundy Blue!
September 7 question - What genre would be the worst one for you to tackle and why?
Of all fiction genres, action/adventure would be the worst for me. I can't stand reading action, let alone writing it. To me, choreography is tedious. He punched. The other character fell. It hurt. He got up. They circled, waiting for a clear shot. They hit each other some more. Somebody kicked. *Yawn*
When writing, I avoid choreography as much as possible. If I can find a way to skip an action scene or make it more interesting, I do. Here are a few methods I like:
-One of the characters does a humorous retelling of events to another character.
-The main character is either distracted or knocked out and doesn't experience the action sequence, only the aftereffects.
-There's about to be a fight scene, but it's interrupted by something and is thus mercifully brief.
Don't get me wrong though. Action movies are great because I can see the awesome martial arts in the fight scene. When a fight is described, it just doesn't translate. However, there is one thing I despise in both movies and books: car chase scenes. They are overdone and merely serve as my chance to get a refill or take a bathroom break.
Anyone else feel the same way about writing/reading choreography?
Anybody have a different genre they dislike writing or reading?