Warmest welcome to all of my visitors. Feel free to comment on anything that piques your interest. As well as to browse through the archives and of course to visit the links to other great blogs for writers.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview with Krista D. Ball

Hello Krista D. Ball, and welcome to Kitty’s Inner Thoughts. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity. Tell us a little about yourself.

What were your feelings when you first learned that Road To Hell had been accepted?

Having Road to Hell accepted was amazing. I'd written that novel originally as a short story/quasi-script. It was nearly all dialogue, and was really just me writing during a time when I was working a lot of hours and was feeling down about the main series I was working on at the time. Along the way, that short story evolved into a novel. As luck would have it, it was accepted two months before Tranquility's Blaze, my epic fantasy novel, so I have two novels accepted within as many months.

What inspired Road to Hell?

Lots of things...and nothing. I wrote it while I was working a lot of long days on my feet at a homeless drop in, I was frustrated with my epic fantasy novel, Tranquility's Blaze, and needed to stop and write something new. So, that's where it came from. Originally, it was supposed to be a short story, but instead it became a novella...and then a short novel.

Do you prefer writing sci-fi over writing paranormal?

I can say that science fiction comes a lot easier to me story-wise, but paranormal is a hell of a lot easier to write once you got the story. There's no world building; it already exists! After writing epic fantasy and science fiction, doing a paranormal was easy. But I wouldn't call it my first love.

What was your favorite part about writing Spirits Rising?

Not answering to anyone. I wrote Spirits Rising (and indeed, will be writing the entire series) for me. I grew up in Newfoundland, and I wanted a story where the only person I wanted to impress was me. I knew going in that I would self-publish it, would do little promotion for it, and that this was really a for-fun project.

For-money projects are great, don't get me wrong. I love those! They pay bills. But every so often, a girl needs to spread her wings for love projects, too.

What are some of your favorite elements of writing paranormal?

Less world building! Oh wow. Going from science fiction and epic fantasy to writing a contemporary story like Spirits Rising was such a brain release. People could use cell phones! People have cars and wear jeans. It was such a relief for me and it wasn't until I was writing these things that I realized how great writing today could be.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay inspired during revisions?

Alcohol should never be underestimated.

I have a schedule board, where I note what projects I should be working on by month. That way, I can tell at a glance if I'm behind schedule by just looking at the board. Besides, I never get too bored because I can see when things will change.

Right now, I'm putting the final touches on the second of my Tranquility series, and also writing a non-fiction book. That one is due in by August 15 to the publisher, so I'm definitely feeling the pressure!

What are some of the difficulties you run into with the world building aspects?

Not getting bogged down. I have a history background, so it's so easy with epic fantasy (especially) to just get all tangled up. I try to use the rule stick of: am I doing this because it's needed or because I want to show off? I've discovered it's usually option 2 ;)

What is something your readers would be surprised to learn about you?

This is a tough one. I don't know, actually. I don't have any really weird hobbies. Well, I do, but I try not to let anyone know about those!

How do you balance writing with your ever day life?

I am asked this question a lot, and I have no good answer for it. I ensure those around me respect my schedule, weird hours, and deadlines. Kids who scream when I have a galley due in 12 hours get grounded and send to their rooms. I think many of the problems people have with balance have to do with respect:

Share with us the different platforms you use to sell your book (bookstores, signing, affiliate programs, website etc.).

I'm pretty lazy about these things. For my trade stuff, the publisher handles all that. It's really glorious and I love it! For the self-published stuff, I generally just let folks I have new stuff out and tweet about it every so often.

I do plan to do some book signings and such later this year. But right now, I'm really too busy to organize those things. Convention season is coming up and I'll be at a couple of cons locally. I often speak and such at those, so I'll do signings and whatnot then.

Right now, I'm just trying to get stuff in by their deadlines!

What would you do differently with the publishing of your next book?

Nothing, to be honest. I'm very good going into projects with figuring out what I'm going to do with them. I am going to *try* to go slower for the next year, however. I've had a mad push to finish stuff this year for some personal reasons. But I'm nearing the end of the two major projects I need to finish (the last deadline being August 15), so I hope to take things slower for the rest of the year.

Do have any future projects you’d like to tell us about?/

My epic fantasy series debuts with book1 called Tranquility's Blaze. That'll be out April 17th. My history guide for writers called What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank: A Fantasy Author's Guide to Food and Drink will be out toward the end of the year, possibly November. Of course, I have my web serial, Collaborator, that I am working on that folks can read on my website.

Thank you for spending time with us today and sharing some of your experiences with us. Hope to hear from you again, Krista!

Bloggers, be sure to check out her website, and books. You won’t be disappointed. This lady is a master of creating new and exciting worlds. In fact, you can read my reviews for Road To Hell and Spirits Rising and see how much I enjoyed them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Shape Shifting

One of the biggest parts that goes into writing a book is research. You can either view it as a boring, chore, or as an exciting new adventure. Either way it's often a requirement for pretty much any book. You can spend hours, weeks, or months depending on the subject and how much you need to know to make your book seem authentic.

I've spent the past several days scouring the internet for research on the many aspects of shape shifting all over the world. Asia in particular, has some awesome mythology behind shape-shifting.

For instance did you know that shape shifting comes in three main forms?

Mental (M-Shift) - A change in psychological state, where a person thinks and behaves more like their animal. This form is rarely used, because let's face it, anyone acting like this would be committed. Right? But it could be fun to play with if you have the right setting for the characters.

Spiritual (S-Shift) - A change in spiritual state, often broken down by type (astral shifting, auric shifting, etc). The spiritual self, astral body, or aura change to resemble the animal. This is the form that Native American and Indian tribes lean towards the most. It could prove a fun aspect to play with for just about any kind of plot.

Physical (P-Shift) - A change in physical state, physically changing to become more like, or entirely like, their theriotype animal. Controversial, and largely thought to be impossible {except in books, movies, and animes}. This form is the most widely used and therefore widely recognized form. Who doesn't want to change into a real animal right?

Three main forms of shifting leave us writers a whole lot of room for creating legends for our characters to explain how they transform.

However, depending on where in the world your characters are located, will determine the extent you can play with the legends. In my opinion were-wolves while good, are way overdone these days. So, let's take a look at were-cats instead. {Who doesn't love those affectionate balls of fur?}

In India the were-tiger is often a dangerous sorcerer, portrayed as a menace to livestock, who might at any time turn to man-eating.

Chinese legends often describe were-tigers as the victims of either a hereditary curse or a vindictive ghost.

In both Indonesia and Malaysia there is another kind of were-tiger, known as Harimau jadian. The power of transformation is regarded as due to inheritance, to the use of spells, to fasting and willpower, to the use of charms, etc. Save when it is hungry or has just cause for revenge, it is not hostile to man; in fact, it is said to take its animal form only at night and to guard the plantations from wild pigs.

In Africa in reference to were-cats who turn into lions, the ability is often associated with royalty. Such a being may have been a king or queen in a former life, or may be destined for leadership in this life.

European folklore usually depicts were-cats who transform into domestic cats. Some European were-cats became giant domestic cats or panthers. They are generally labelled witches, even though they may have no magical ability other than self-transformation. During the witch trials, the official Church doctrine stated that all shape-shifters, including werewolves, were witches.

As you can see there are many different versions of were-cat {aka Ailuranthropy = human/feline transformations.} Some say they are good, and non threatening to natives, others say they are dangerous to everyone. It leaves authors a lot of play room when developing legends to suit their novels or movies.

Move over were-wolves and make room for the cats to come out and play.

Which legend is your favorite? Which transformation is your favorite? Why do you think P-shifting is the most popular form used in novels and movies? Feel free to respond in comments. I'd love to hear your insights and opinions.

This is another awesome post about Ailuranthrophy you should check out.

Reference Materials: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werecat and http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Therianthropy

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Interview with Evie Balos

Hello bloggers. I have a surprise for you. Today I'm conducting my first blog interview. Please help me extend a warm welcome to erotic romance writer Evie Balos.

Hello Evie, and welcome to Kitty’s Inner Thoughts. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity. You are a traditionally published author, so tell us a little about your experiences.

What are some of the ways you stay inspired during the grueling process of writing and revising your books?

Writing has always been a highly enjoyable experience for me and, believe it or not, I actually like editing too. The only time I feel the need to draw extra inspiration is when I hit writer’s block. I step away from the story but eventually, my characters call me back to finish the work.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted and when you first saw the cover of the finished product?

A whole mix of emotions—from relief and elation to anxiousness about marketing the book. Mostly, I was proud of myself; the hard work had finally paid off.

What are some of your favorite elements of writing paranormal?

Although I write other subgenres, paranormal gives the author the flexibility to create just about any type of world and this is what I enjoy the most.

What are some of the differences between writing romance and writing erotica?

The main differences are heat level; explicit sexual scenes, and these are a focal point in erotica, whereas in romance, the focus is on the romantic relationship. Also, true erotica can lack “romance” altogether and often does not involve traditional relationships.

Do you blush when writing the steamy scenes?

Rarely. Writing erotic romance and erotica is part of my life. However, I won’t let my parents near my books, lol.

What is something your readers would be surprised to learn about you?

Oh my. I don’t know...maybe that I’m almost sure I was a cat in another life?

What inspired Wicked Angel? What are some of the tricks you use for creating sexual tension between your characters?

When Cobblestone Press launched its Blue line (erotica), I instantly wanted to write a story for it. Very short, very hot. Somehow, I knew I’d go with a paranormal angle, and as I love law enforcement, the idea of creating a warrior angel popped into my head soon after.

I create sexual tension mostly through the general challenge that the two characters face, whether it’s a taboo relationship, or there’s animosity of some kind. I never make it easy for them. Mix in some sizzling physical attraction that can’t be immediately satisfied, and there’s the sexual edge.

What are some of the difficulties you run into with creating alpha males?

Well, certainly some headaches, since all of my heroes are alpha, lol. I’d say that I have two challenges with this. One is not going overboard with the alpha personality because the hero certainly can’t be cruel or obnoxious. The other is the need to create different types of alphas for each story, so that means coming up with a variety of heroes that are intrinsically different, yet still alpha.

Share with us the different platforms you use to sell your book (bookstores, signing, affiliate programs, website etc.)

As far as marketing goes, I try to keep it simple to be honest, because it takes up a lot of time. I use my website, blog, Twitter and Yahoo group as basic networking tools. I advertise at a few review sites and my publishers take care of book reviews for the most part. I participate in various online chats and author/reader events as much as possible, as well as doing fun interviews like this. I hope to be able to attend a Romantic Times Convention one of these days!

What would you do differently with the publishing of your next book?

I have considered some self-pubbing in the near future, so my next book might be available exclusively at Amazon and its affiliates.

Anything important or special you would like to add?

If your followers are interested in erotic romance, I’ve got two paranormal titles with Cobblestone Press that have received rave reviews, (Dhampir Desire series) and a contemporary title with Total-E-Bound called Give it to Me Spicy.

Thank you for spending time with us today and sharing some of your experiences with us. Hope to hear from you again, Evie!

Kitty, I’ve really enjoyed your questions, and thank you for having me!

Bloggers, be sure to check out Evie's Website, Evie's Blog, and books. You won’t be disappointed. You can read my review for Wicked Angel too.

You can also follow Evie on Twitter.

Next week we will be joined by Author Krista D. Ball. A master of world building. She writes sci-fi and paranormal romances.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Never Forget

To let my readers see who I am, I've decided to share a short story I wrote, of when I was fifteen, on the brink of losing faith in mankind as a whole, until one event changed my life forever. I'm a bit nervous because this is based on real events and comes from my heart. So I'm very nervous about how people will respond to it. But readers need to know who is behind the writing,. So here it is. I hope you will enjoy it. I humbly request to hear what you think about it. Thanks.

Never Forget:

I stood leaning against the wooden rail with my pole in my hands and wiped the sweat running down my forehead with the back of my sleeve. Humidity was thick in the air. It tasted salty because of the sea that spread out as far as the eye could see. Twenty feet to the rear lay a beach with Starfish and, sea shells, and sand crabs dotting the shoreline, all but abandoned by humans. Strange since it was summer vacation. My family and I stood in the middle of a half a mile long, shabby wooden pier that was sturdy and had a lot of splitters along the edges.

Mama and step dad stood on one side, my two brothers on each side of them, and my sister and I on the right side. I looked down the beach and scowled at the slide in camper that the family, along with two dogs: One a Pomeranian, the other a red Doberman, had lived in on the beach for a full year.

My Doberman lay beside my feet acting lethargic and panting. I reached over and scratched behind her ears as I stared at the pale, cloudless sky. When we first arrived I'd loved the idea of living at a real beach and looked forward to swimming in the ocean at any given time I chose. Lately the swimming bored me. I did it for exercise and to stretch my legs. I scowled at the thought of going into the water again because of the many sunburns I'd received. My skin ached in remembrance of the last one I'd received two weeks ago, with blisters the size of quarters and skin as red as a hot poker made it hurt to be touched.

Thank God that finally healed.

Still, getting outside to fish on the pier, or play at the beach beat being cooped up. More than once I'd gotten sick from being too cold at night because my bed was the hard, unforgiving floor and my blanket always ended up sprouting legs. As for bathing, we had to go into the bathroom and use the public showers. Who knew when a stranger might walk in, so of course we’d go in our bathing suits, not an easy feat by any means. We couldn't adjust the water either.

"Let's go jump in the water." My youngest brother suggested.

I balked. "Are you insane? There is glass over there. Besides, it's too damned hot." My eyes narrowed at him. "I don't want another stupid sunburn." I huffed.

"Trina, leave your brother alone." Mama warned and went back to watching her pole.

Sure, I'm the one who gets yelled at. I sighed and pulled a sliver of glass out of the bottom of my worn out shoes. I winced when it pricked my finger and stared at the tiny drop of blood forming on the tip. Stupid thoughtless bums. I huffed and flicked it into the water.

Every morning about a foot from where the water rose, broken beer bottles and broken glass shards scattered across the ground. We had to be careful where we stepped and always keep our shoes on. Especially when we played in the water, so that we could scare away the sting rays that loved to burrow into the sand at the bottom of the water by dragging our feet as we entered the water.


I listened to the waves crashing against the shore and stared at my shoes and then rolled my eyes. I didn't want to be like the five year old boy from last week who stepped on one and ended up having to get the razor sharp, splinter laden barb surgically removed from what remained of his foot.

Poor thing. He'll never be the same. I scowled. His parents should have paid more attention. Now that poor kid will pay the price. My jaw tightened and my hand closed around the pole till my knuckles turned white.

Seagulls’ cries filled the air as they flapped their wings circling above the water. I feel for you, kid. Only fifteen and I'd already survived having my world ruthlessly ripped apart by the ultimate betrayal once. I winced and tore my mind away from the unwanted memory crowding into my mind as my heart ached. Life gets better. I scoffed. Yeah right that’s easier said than done.

My stomach growled demanding my attention and I stared at it. "Be quiet." I mumbled and turned my attention back to the water, spotting a couple of sailboats gliding through away from shore. I watched a fish jump out of the water in front of the pier and released a long exhale. Day in and day out it had been fish, shark, crabs and shrimp. Sure it was a variety but still seafood.

I'm sick of seafood! I shifted on my feet. A Peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be a God Send right now. Too bad we only get them twice a year. Mama, my stepfather, my sister, and continued to fish. My two younger brothers sat on the pier cross-legged, blank eyes staring out over the water, listless, bored.

What else can go wrong today? I grit my teeth and my free hand balled into a fist, slamming against the top of the railing. I looked around the pier and saw there was only three other people, besides us. One of them, an old man, stood down at the end, watching us. He looked at the bucket and then smiled at me.

Sorry pal, you will have to get your own fish. That’s our dinner.

The smell of seaweed and algae reached my nose as the wind picked up just enough to tease me.
My skin tingled in warning as his gaze intensified. Stop staring will you? I turned my back to him and grit my teeth as unwanted memories crowded in. What did I do to deserve that? I tightened my bulky plaid button up around me to protect myself from the stares I felt on me and tried to make myself as small as possible.

I guess the whole world has to take a shot at me. I used one hand to rub my tight shoulder and stomped on a bug, grinding it under my foot. Go away you nasty thing.

My shoulders hunched and my chin fell to my chest. I closed my eyes feeling a heavy stone settle in my belly. Great, now I'm attacking little critters? I swallowed trying to hold back the tears stinging my eyes and my heart felt like a vice grip closed around it. My free hand gripped the splintered edge of the wooden rail to keep me from falling to my knees.

Please God, there has to be at least some decency out in the cruel, harsh world. I can’t take it anymore. Help me be rid of my bitterness. I don’t want to be angry all the time.

I huffed and kicked the bucket. And please, no more seafood. Just a simple break that's all I ask. Only for a little while. Tears clung to my lashes despite trying to keep them at bay as sadness washed over me like the waves crashing against the shore. Why do things just keep going from bad to worse? Is everyone cruel?

My hand tightened on my shoulder and I winced. I took a deep breath and blinked my tears away. I gazed back at the sea, watching the waves ripple. Maybe the world doesn’t care anymore?

Everything rested on my shoulders weighing me down as the waves of sadness and pain continued to batter at me like a twig on a turbulent sea. I pinched the bridge of my nose. If it has to be seafood, then I at least want a shark that we can fry in the pan. It’s been two months since we had shark. Anything but more fish.

Everyone at school griped about how boring fishing was. I didn’t have any friends, but that didn’t bother me. As long as people leave me alone, I don’t care.

I stared at my rod and grimaced. Even fishing started to lose my interest. My skin prickled in warning and I felt a heavy stare on me. I looked around and saw the old man watching me again. Why is he so interested in us and that stupid bucket of fish? I shifted and my knee bumped the top of the bucket./br>
A few minutes later Mama’s pole bounced like crazy. “Hey guys, I’ve got something!”

The five of us went over to find out why her pole bounced so hard as she fought to reel it in. When she pulled it up out of the water, my eyes widened in shock.

Okay, that's something that we haven’t eaten yet.

My seven year old brother jumped up and his fist pumped the air. “Alright! Finally, something besides fish.” My jaw hung dropped as I watched him hug our five year old brother and they jumped up and down. I blinked. What no fighting? Weirdos. I shook my head and looked at Mama. My step dad reached over lifting the line and grabbed the eel. He walked over to the other side and laid it on the pier and then knelt down and pulled out his knife.

“You’re not going to feed that to the kids, are you?” The old man walked over and frowned.

“It’s this or fish, and they are sick of fish.“ Mama stared at him.

“Why eat out of the ocean?”

“We’ve been doing so, for over a year. My wife and I both have no jobs, despite her nursing degree.” He Huffed. "Nobody around here will hire us. We're collecting aluminum for money, but we're barely able to make rent for our camper.” He shrugged. “We even had to put the fishing licenses as a priority just so we can eat.”

"Put that eel and the bucket of fish away. You can have that stuff tomorrow night." The old man set his pole aside. He winked at my mother and draped his arm over my step dad's shoulder. "You, come with me and I'll tell you why."

With a puzzled expression my step dad nodded and allowed the old man to lead him away.

Mama looked at us kids and bent over adding the eel to our bucket. “Don’t get your hopes up.” She frowned as the boys ran up and down the pier.

“No fish tonight, hooray!” They cheered in unison.

I stared out to nowhere, not seeing anything. Why do I always seem to meet the worst people? Not even guys, just people in general. I felt the heavy weight of depression closing in again.

After a while the old man and my step father returned. Their arms were loaded with stuff from McDonald’s. My mother's jaw dropped when she saw the food and she shot a questioning look at my step dad. He gave her a nod.

“Thank you.” She smiled at the old man.

He nodded and handed each of the boys two ice cream cones. He passed us girls one each. “Don’t spoil your dinner, but eat this before it melts. Okay?”

We stared at our step dad. He nodded and we accepted the ice creams, finishing them off before they had a chance to start melting. I Inhaled a deep breath drawing in the chocolate scent I'd missed so much and felt my mouth water in anticipation. My tongue swirled over the sweet, cold treat and my taste buds danced with pleasure. My heart sank when the treat was gone. The old man passed each of us cheese burgers, French fries and drinks; real sodas. We'd had water, milk, and when we were lucky, kool-aid, so that was an extra special treat.

I picked up my burger and grinned."Thanks mister." I sank my teeth into the meat and savored the ketchup on my tongue. I chewed the lettuce and tomato and felt some of the darkness in me fade away. Delicious. I’ve missed having tomatoes. I grabbed a handful of my fries and shoved them in my mouth.

The old man ate with us laughing at our antics.

After devouring my three burgers and all of my fries I danced around the beach, spinning in circles with my hands stretched out beside me and grinned. So did my thirteen years old sister. My brothers bounced up and down and ran around playing with their new toys they'd gotten in their happy meals. My step father chuckled and walked off to put the bucket of fish away.

Mama stood up and slapped her arm, flicking a mosquito off. “Okay kids, let’s get our stuff and head in for the night.”

I gathered the poles and tackle box and then turned around to ask my mother a question, but stopped when I noticed the old man was still there. I placed the tackle box in front of me as if to use it for a shield.

“Have your husband meet me here in the morning and by tomorrow evening he will have a job.” He looked at my mother.

My mother’s face lit up. “Thank you sir, I will.” She followed my step father and I finished gathering the poles from their pier.

The old man walked over to his gear.

I stood there and frowned. Why is he so kind? What does he want? I felt the wind pick up and shivered. I snatched the last pole up and followed my family. We all went inside and settled into bed for the night. I closed my eyes and said my prayers, pulling my blanket up to my chin. Thanks God. We needed that break. I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

Two days later my stepfather worked as a welder. My mother even had a job nursing and we moved into a three bedroom house located two hours away in a small town that was only two miles wide and two miles long. I grinned as I ran to check out my new bedroom, with the dogs at my feet. I hugged my Doberman in my excitement and she licked my face, making me giggle. No more cramped camper on a beach for us.

We girls had a room, the boys had a room and my mother and step father had a room. We had plenty of room for the dogs inside, but also had a screened in porch. My hand traced the railing of the porch and I smiled. I stretched my leg in front of me. Man, it feels so good not being cramped all of the time.

After helping us move everything into the house and showing us where everything was, the old man walked back out to his pickup truck. He stood outside by the driver’s door and all six of us went out to thank him.

My mother smiled at him. “Thanks again for everything. How can we possibly repay you?”

The old man grinned at us kids and then smiled at my mother. "Simple, next time you see someone who needs help, don’t hesitate. Do for them like I’ve done for you - help however you can and ask nothing in return." With that he climbed into his pick up and drove away.

We never did see that old man again. Years later {after I was married and had kids of my own} I found out that house was his summer retreat. We lived there four years and never paid any rent. All that he asked in return was whenever the yard, front or back, needed tending we’d do it and we did.

I'll never forget that day, or everything he did for us, for as long as I live. That kind, generous old man completely restored my faith in mankind and gave me a reason to keep meeting life's challenges with my head held high. I know a lot of you don’t believe in God, but I do. I will always think that was God sent him to remind me that not everyone is bad, selfish, mean and cruel.

I want to make it clear that I never lost my faith in God, just in mankind as a whole. But, I feel that God used this event to show me there are still good people out there and that I shouldn't lose hope in humanity, even in the darkest of times.

It was a powerful lesson: One old man’s kindness changed my life forever. Even to this day I try to help others every chance I can, even if it gets me kicked in the teeth. I just remember what he said and how his kindness made me feel and I try again.

Through the years when I've hit hard times or started wondering if there is any good left in the world, I think back to that day twenty years ago and smile knowing that somehow, some way things will work out.

First Chapter

First and foremost. Welcome new members, thanks for joining and following me.

I remember when I first started writing how I couldn't believe how serious people were about the first chapter being vital. I always thought they were nuts. it's just the beginning, right?


That first chapter is so much more than just "the beginning" of your story. It's one the two most important chapters in a book. The other being the climax {which will will discuss in a later post}. Next to the climax your first chapter is the most important one of the book.


Because that little bugger has a lot of important jobs to carry out in order to succeed.

One: It must grab the readers attention immediately. Something, be it an action scene, or a problem your character needs to resolve, or even a bit of dialogue about the problem your character is facing, has to quickly snag your reader's attention before they put the book back on the shelf and reach for another one. {this goes back to my post about how vital the first sentence/paragraph is and why.}

Two: Ground the readers in the setting. The reader needs to know immediately when {what time period, future, past, present?} and where {location, location, location} the story is taking place. Please use specifics here. Specific sensory details should cue the reader to the exact location.

Three: It sets the tone for what kind of book they are reading and gives a glimpse at the over all style of the writer. Readers need to be clear about what genre the book is by the end of the first chapter, or they will get confused and likely walk away feeling cheated. Make sure you know what genre you are writing and the rules that apply to it, so you can follow those rules specific to the genre and not disappoint your reader's by "cheating them" {pretending it's a sci fi action book when it's really a romance fantasy} and leaving them unsatisfied.

Four: It introduces readers to the main character{s}, but not too many at once. Personally, I like to stick with just the hero and/or heroine in the first chapter. That way readers don't feel overwhelmed by too many characters and can get a chance to "bond" with your main character{s} If a reader cannot bond with the characters, why should they continue reading to see what happens to them?

Five: It sets the stakes, letting the readers know exactly what is at risk for your character{s} and what they must do to overcome it. The first chapter should satisfy the reader's need to understand what the story is going to be about, while posing a question that makes them want to stay with your character{s} and see what happens. Arouse the reader's curiosity and they will want to keep reading. Fail to arouse their curiosity and they will put it back on the shelf unread. Sad, but true.

Six: It establishes the narrator's voice and Point Of View, which will help you cut down on the dreaded "head hopping" and enables you to avoid confusing your readers. Make sure your narrator's voice is clear, or you will confuse your readers. Confused readers = lost readers = lost sales and lost future sales and/or lost contracts.

Seven: The first chapter should be a teaser, one that creates a question in the reader's mind and creates suspense to keep them wanting to learn about and thus turning the pages, to follow your character's through out the book. Only give the details necessary to firmly establish your character's situation and what is at stake, while immersing your readers in the setting. It's a good idea to avoid as much back story as possible within the first one hundred pages. But it is absolutely vital to keep it out of the first chapter. If your readers already know everything, why should they continue reading your book? Keep them guessing and you should keep them interested.

In conclusion over the years {and a plethora of revisions} I've learned the hard way everything I mentioned above. Don't make the mistake of starting just to start. During the revision stage pay special attention to your opening chapter and check for the key elements listed above. If you're missing them, add them. After all, that's what revisions are for, to help us clean up our mistakes, tighten prose, and add in what we've missed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I finally settled on the official book blurb for my upcoming novel.

*side note* Cover Art coming soon.

Book Blurb for Dangerous Temptation:

After losing her father in the line of duty, the last thing seventeen year old Kaitlin Sinclair wants to do is fly halfway around the world to live with an uncle she's never met. She certainly doesn't want to get to know the locals… That is until she's enchanted by some of the legends about the natives. Armed with her camera she heads into the jungle and makes a startling discovery that could put both her heart and her life in peril.

Cadmon Quinn is a Borneo shifter, charged with the task of keeping his people safe from the local hostiles who have been uncooperative in the meetings to try and establish peace. To say he's unhappy when he discovers one traipsing about his people's land is an understatement. Too bad no one warned him she would prove to be more of a challenge than he'd expected. One that could jeopardize his people's existence and his heart.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Just Starting Out

I remember when I first started writing and how scary it was.

It can seem pretty overwhelming at first huh? Worried about whether or not other people will like your writing. How "mean" they will be in the reviews or critiques.

It takes a lot of courage to post any of your writing up for others to read. So, to have them write "mean" reviews telling you things aren't right and you need to get them right... that can really crush a new writer's spirit. Especially if it seems like a "flame" in the case of fanfiction.

The good news is that you can learn some valuable information from those harsh reviews and critiques.

The truth is most of those "mean" reviews aren't meant to hurt your feelings at all. They're actually meant to help you become a better writer.

A word to this wise: Keep in mind that if you can't handle harsh reviews, you won't be able to handle the harsher critiques, which are what help writers grow into better writers. It's that simple. As a writer we need to remember most of what is said is directed solely at the writing not the writer.

If someone flat out calls you a bad writer, then yeah, that's directed at you and it's simply them trying to undermine your confidence in yourself. Don't let them. Take those "flames" and pitch them aside. Ignore them. Most times flamers are just trying to get a rise out of you. Don't react and they will usually go away. If the flamers become too bothersome simply block them and let that be the end of it.

You must learn to have confidence in yourself and your writing. Because without it, you'll never get over the fear of "not being good enough" to get published, and you won't enjoy writing anymore. What's the point in doing something if you don't enjoy it?

Writing should be an adventure for you. Exciting, fun, sometimes frustrating {especially during revisions} but it should always be an adventure to you. Your taking something and pouring your heart and soul into it. Like it or not every author pours some of themselves into their stories. There is no way of getting around that. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Never give up!

How do you handle mean reviews or harsh critiques? What do you learn from them? Have they helped you improve over the years? Feel free to comment and join in on the discussion.

One last note: There is a fabulous celebration going on at The Bookshelf Muse Make sure you stop by and help these two talented women celebrate their hard earned milestone of reaching over 3000+ subscribers. They've earned it! Don't forget to enter their awesome contest too!