Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Okay, I just made up that word. It’s not a misspelling of scheming, it refers to schema (psychology’s usage) “A schema is a mental concept that informs a person about what to expect from a variety of experiences and situations. Schemas are developed based on information provided by life experiences and are then stored in memory. Our brains create and use schemas as a short cut to make future encounters with similar situations easier to navigate. “

What all that says, is that as we build more experiences and repeat situations, we begin to form expectations about a situational outcome in similar situations.

For writers and readers that means if you pick up a book with a demure 16th century maiden on it, being clenched by a big burly highlander, you are NOT going to be expecting a slasher scene in the middle of the book. Or anywhere in it.

People who design covers, whether it be the author themselves, someone they hired, or a publisher and in-house artists, strive to make sure the cover is appealing, but also targeted to peoples’ schemas for the book’s subject matter. If I want a historical romance with a good-looking Scot, that book I mentioned above is perfect.

When we pick up a book based on the cover, then read the blurb, maybe a page or two, more of our schemas engage. A word might through us off and we think of other books that we didn’t enjoy based on a concept or wording that seems similar.

So what has this to do with writing you ask? Everything.

If I am writing a slasher book, but no one gets slashed until page 130, I have a problem, and any readers have probably dumped the book in disgust.

Same thing if I were writing something with a lot of sex—I’d better let the reader know up front (through cover, blurb, etc) and I better not wait until page 200 for the action. Inversely, if I’m not writing graphic sex, springing it on a reader at the end of a book, or in a later book in the series when it hasn’t been in evidence at all previously, can shock a reader.

Working with schemas doesn’t mean being predictable—we all read for new adventures—it just means falling within the expectations of the reader.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Two awesome reviews! Thank you #RT!

I have been horribly remiss in not posting this sooner--but I received two wonderful reviews from the big kahuna's of book reviewing- Romantic Times Book Reviews!

To be fair, I just found these-LOL. Tell's you how focused I get when I'm racing to a deadline ;).


RT Rating:

auhor(s): Marie Andreas

Andreas has already been making a name for herself with her terrific fantasy series The Lost Ancients, but now she kicks off a fast-paced and high-energy SF series featuring a band of mercenaries led by Starship Captain Vaslisha Tor Dain. There is plenty of action, thrills and some humor in her new series, The Asarlaí Wars, as these mercenaries become reluctant sort-of heroes in the face of treachery and fanaticism. The launch book sets up this dangerous universe and fills it with amazing characters who are sure to grab reader’s hearts and minds. This is going to be a very twisty and dangerous ride!
Captain Vaslisha Tor Dain only planned to be on vacation for a couple of weeks, so when she returns to find that her beloved ship The Victorious Dead has been “mistakenly” scrapped for parts, she is livid and bent both on revenge and getting her ship put back together. In the meantime they have a job to do, so Vas takes the only ship available, The Warrior Wench, that used to be a brothel. Vas then rounds up her second in command, the telepath Deven, and the rest of her crew. However Vas nearly dies of a poisoning and only Deven’s quick work saves her. Who or what is after Vas and her crew? Ominously it seems that things are not right in the Commonwealth of Planets. It may be up to Vas to kick butt and take names! (MARIEANDREAS.COM, May, 368 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith

And The Lost Ancients got represented as well!

RT Rating:
Four stars

Author(s): Marie Andreas

Aficionados of action-packed fantasy laced with a generous dose of humor should immediately check out the talented Lost Ancients series. The Emerald Dragon is the third installment in this terrific series which follows the semi-apocalyptic adventures of archaeologist Taryn St. Giles. Elves supposedly disappeared from the Four Kingdoms eons ago and Taryn makes a living mining their ruins. Andreas does a fantastic job building a compelling world and developing characters that leap off the page! Fantasy fans should not miss out.
Beccia used to be a quiet little city until Taryn’s talent for digging placed them at the epicenter of two previous destructive encounters with ancient relics. Although Taryn and her friends/allies (including her trio of often-drunken fairy sidekicks) prevented previous doomsdays, they again find trouble after a series of explosive tremors rock the area. When Alric the elf disappears while investigating, Taryn starts a hunt to find him. Suddenly she is up against bloodthirsty relic hunters and nightmarish monsters as they all hunt for the legendary lost emerald dragon! (MARIE ANDREAS, Apr., 324 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith

Thank you Jill M. Smith and RT Book Reviews! These really made me scream, cry, jump around like a mad woman, and generally mean way more to me than you could know. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#IWSG- Joys of writing

Welcome to another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! 

 Every month, writers from across the globe join and shout our fears into the Universe!  Join us!

Today's question was "What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?" I really have to give two answers- just because ;).

1) Creating new worlds and new characters- my people become very real to me, and I might not like all of them, but I respect them. Many I adore, most I wish I was more like. The joy of creating new characters and setting them lose in a new world is amazing. Knowing, "Oh, she'd NEVER do that" just after a few pages of meeting a character is very very cool. 

I've always been a storyteller, creating people out of anything around me or just in my head. Writing takes it out of my head and lets me tell larger stories.

2) The second part didn't happen until I published--total strangers reading MY books, and some LOVING them! That is a very VERY cool aspect to being a writer. I would still create my people and my stories even if I couldn't share them, but sharing my worlds is a very special feeling.

I count myself extremely lucky that I can create things and share them-it's a wonderful feeling.

Happy IWSG day!