Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Today's post is sort of related to the previous one in that it deals with things not happening in a book that really should be happening.

Lack of  "action".

Now, I'm not talking about things not happening in the book--in fact sometimes books with too much action fall into this trouble group.  I'm talking about ones with no real inciting incident. Hmmmm...even that doesn't really cover it.

The "lack of a start of action" books.  Now, I see you all shaking your heads, wondering what the heck I'm talking about and if a few too many brain cells have gone MIA on me lately.  But stick with me.

I've recently read/been reading two books by the same author in a series I like. On both I found myself almost a hundred pages in and never had that feeling of "cue the start of all hell breaking loose" here.

The book just rolled into a disaster, then another, then another. Even though I do like this author, and she does this all the time, it's annoying. And when I find something annoying as a reader, I pretty much figure out it's something to look out for as a writer ;).

1)  I like having a bit of a set up.  Even in books that start in full action and/or ones that are an ongoing series where most readers already know the characters and the world.(step back after the bomb goes off and get the reader nestled nicely into the world before the next disaster).  I like to get into the world before the characters go out trying to save it ;).

2) A subtle demarcation of  "oh shit- this is going to be bad" at the start of the disaster arc.  I don't need to be bashed over the head with it, but I (as the reader) want to see the line in the sand, the no going back, the we are sooooo screwed moment. In the case of this author (and she is not alone by any means) there just seemed to be a running from one problem to the next, no "start" and no increasing of the problems.  If you were to draw the plot arc these books would be dead--as in a flat line.

I usually come across these books in either Urban Fantasy and or Fantasy series.  Now not all authors with series books do this, but it does seem that when I find it it is either a fantasy or urban fantasy series.

So folks- watch it.  Don't just throw a bunch of events at your reader, start slowly (remember your introductory paragraph when you learned to write an essay? ;)), build to the start of the action, and keep that action ramping UP.  Your readers will thank you.

Thanks for coming by!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

People change

I just got back from a two week trip to England, Wales, and Ireland.  It was wonderful and exhausting.  And impacted my way of thinking.  Not hugely mind you, it wasn't a strange planet I went to after all-- but it did change my own personal world view.  It's not something major, but just another bit of fluff that modifies how I react to the world.

Any trip can have an impact on someone...a four day writer's conference, a family reunion, a two week trip to England.  Yet some authors forget this.  Especially in genre fiction, there is usually a heck of a lot of "things" going on- MAJOR things far bigger than a "trip across the pond".  And yet ofttimes there is little to no change in the protagonist's view. They still think the same, react the same, etc.

One of the reasons I loved the tv show Farscape (and there are many many reasons- go watch it!) was the way the main character, John, changed because of what happened to him. As the series progressed his world view changed, his reactions changed- and we saw it.

The same has to happen with your characters.  The reader has to see that whatever has happened to them- is changing who they are.  Even in third person the reader gets a feel for the character's head...and that head shouldn't be the same at the end of the book as it was in the beginning...or the middle.

A few photos of the trip- what would change your character?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Guest Blogger: Rachael Davila- SWAG!

Welcome my guest Blogger- Rachael Davila

Thanks for having me, Marie! I've never blogged before. I'm excited to debut on your blog!

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Rachael. Unlike most stereotypical writers, I'm totally an extrovert. Like a golden retriever in person- "Hi there! Hi!" You can almost see my tail wagging.  But I am able to channel that exuberance into topics I'm passionate about, like writing, being a virtual assistant, email marketing and promotional products.

Promotional Products is the topic I want to talk with you about today.  You know articles of merchandise (often branded with a logo) used in marketing and communication programs. They are given away to promote a company, corporate image, brand, or event. These items are usually imprinted with a company's name, logo or slogan, and given away at trade shows, conferences, and as part of guerrilla marketing campaigns.

I've been in the industry my whole life. In fact one of my favorite memories is going to the ASI Show in Chicago's McCormick Place.  In all my eleven years, I'd never seen anything like it.  Rows upon rows of booths as far as my eyes could see. My dad handed me a bag and told me not to come back until it was full. I didn't make it past the first aisle.  By the end of the day, I'd collected eight boxes of tchotchkes--pens, pencils, squeeze balls, and tons more.  My love for branded items was born.

Fast forward twenty plus years later and I still love those giveaways.  Only now I've made a business out of it.  I use my experience to work with clients to find the right promotional item for their business goals. Not only do I get to do the work I love, but I get to help people too.  Perfect career? I THINK SO!
Starting Monday, October 28th, I'm teaching a two week online workshop for writers to introduce them to promotional products and imprinted items. From book launches to convention giveaways, Authors use promotional products all the time.  But is that the best way to market YOU?
Promotional Products can be a great addition to any marketing plan from business cards to embroidered apparel. 

In my workshop, The 5W's of SWAG, we'll discuss what factors to look at when deciding what promotional items to add to your marketing budget.  And answer the questions...

*WHAT is SWAG?  
*WHO is best served using them?
*WHERE to look for them?
*WHEN is the right time to use promotional products?
*WHY use a promotional product at all?

While the workshop is geared towards writers, any business person can take the class, especially one who has a marketing plan and is thinking of adding promotional items to it. I hope you'll join me. Workshop details will be on, under Workshops.

Thanks again for having me on your blog, Marie!

Rachael Davila has been in the Promotional Products industry since birth and a Romance writer for almost two years. She is combining her love of both to help her fellow Authors brave the world of imprinted items! From business cards to convention giveaways, Rachael can help! You can find her online via twitter @RachaelDavila or her website:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Guest Blogger- Georgie Lee!

Today please welcome guest blogger and author extroninare- Georgie Lee!

I've always enjoyed classical mythology. The archetypes speak to me as they have to millions of people throughout the centuries. Edith Hamilton and her book Mythology, was my first introduction into the classic stories of man verses god and sometimes himself. In college, I discovered Joseph Campbell and how mythic images are still with us today.


If you aren't familiar with Joseph Campbell's work and want a quick introduction, then I'd recommend Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion edited by Diane K. Osborn. It is a beautifully compiled series of his lectures and thoughts on mythic subjects and how they still influence and inspire us. It also provides a good introduction into the concept of the hero’s journey and examples of its continued use in modern novels and movies.


In regards writing and how mythic imagery still influences storytellers, my two favorite books are The Writer’s Journey and The Artist’s Way.


The Writer's Journey was one of the first writing books that I read. Myths and mythic images have always helped inspire my stories and characters, and the idea of crafting a story along the lines of the hero's journey appeals to me. The plotting techniques are great for helping me create both simple and complex stories and characters that appeal to a wide range of people.


Another writing book that appeals to my mythological side is The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. The book offers some great writing techniques for inspiring the muse. Her method of daily journaling helps keep writer's block at bay.


I’m always on the lookout for great new books on the art and craft of writing. I’d love to hear some of your suggestions for books dealing with the hero’s journey and using it to plot and write. Also, please check out Engagement of Convenience, my Harlequin Historical debut and see if you can spot an archetype or two.

Engagement of Convenience by Georgie Lee
Julia Howard longs for the freedom her inheritance will bring her—but with her controlling brother holding the purse strings, she's going to need a most convenient engagement… An encounter in the woods with a dashing stranger couldn't be more timely. 

Wounded, his life at sea at an end, Captain James Covington isn't prepared for the dull ache of civilian life. He sees in Julia a fellow adventurous spirit—willing to risk all. Could agreeing to her outrageous proposal help him recapture a reason to live as they face the biggest adventure of all—marriage?
Buy Links
A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.
Her first novel, Lady’s Wager, and her contemporary novella, Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and Studio Relations, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Hero’s Redemption, a Regency novella, is now available from Carina Press.  
When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit for more information about Georgie and her novels.
Social Media Links
Twitter: @GeorgieLeeBooks

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG- Yes, your writing DOES suck


Today we welcome you once again to another issue of the monthly rail against the Universe known as Insecure Writers Support Group Wednesday!

For today’s episode a cold, hard, truth will be revealed—

Your writing sucks.

MY writing sucks.

Every single book, manuscript, oddly jotted down bit of mis-matched Haiku—sucks.

Now the caveat is- it sucks to someone.

I can promise that even the highest grossing, made-the-author-insanely-rich, best sellers have someone (probably many someones) who would fling their book across the room in disgust.

Does this mean the book sucks? To them—yeah. Major suckage of the epic scale. That we should all give up trying to be story tellers?  Probably not. (I’ll get to the probably in a minute).

Every once in a while an author hears something bad about their work. (Stop laughing- yeah, it happens more than every once in a while, if not, then you’ve got your work sitting in a trunk somewhere under a large heavy piece of work-out equipment ;)).  But I digress.  When said author gets this bad news the first thought is, “OMG!  I can’t write!  I need to go hide my head in shame!” (Been there done that.).

But the fact is, that is simply an opinion.  Now yes, if EVERYONE says the exact same thing, like your heroine is too stupid to live past page three because she’s already walked into a house with an ax murderer- by choice- twice in two pages—then you should probably listen to them.

Other comments should be examined, tossed around, allowed to breathe like a fine wine—THEN looked at to determine the validity for your story.  There will always be folks who don’t like what you write—decide if they comments are from that, or because of a true weakness.  But no matter what you do, your work will suck to someone.

Now back to the whole “stop telling stories” issue.  I say ‘probably not’ because if you are a sensitive soul who can’t rebound (often with lots of chocolate and or alcohol) from the people who think your work sucks, then maybe you should walk away now. Even my published VERY published friends get folks who think they suck—it comes with this job. If you want to still keep writing and showing your work- you’re going to find some haters.  Eat the chocolate, cry, and move on.


Thanks for coming by- please share your tales of suckage recovery!


·         OH- I’ll be out of the country starting Sunday so I have some wonderful guest bloggers the next two weeks.  Please make sure to stop by and make them feel welcome J.